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Family needs help after fire

Update -- June 19

According to Penticton RCMP Cpl. Martin Trudeau, the cause of the fire has been determined to be electrical -- from a power bar.

Therefore police believe this fire to be accidental, and not suspicious in nature.


Original story -- June 16

The Penticton family who lost their home and all their belongings in a fire Saturday night are in desperate need of assistance.

Tanya Durack, a single mother, who lived in the Martin Street home with her three children and a roommate, said as of Tuesday morning, they will be out on the street.

"We don't have anything left and we don't have anywhere to go," she said, as she sat in the lobby of the Sandman Hotel, where they have stayed since the fire.

It was around 10:30 p.m., Saturday that Durack and her two sons were told to get out of the house by Brandon Irving, a roommate.

Irving first noticed something was wrong when the power went out downstairs. He and a friend went outside for a cigarette and noticed the smell of burning plastic.

After seeing a flame in Durack's room they tried to get in the front and back doors, but they were both locked.

He went back in downstairs and ran up the stairs screaming "fire, get out quick." He further assisted the youngest son, Axel Ferguson, who was on crutches.

Irving, Durack and her oldest son, Johnny Munro-Rowbotham, tried to fight the fire, but fire extinguishers in the home didn't work.

Irving was able to save his little cat from downstairs, but they were unable to get to a second cat.

Durack recalls yelling at her son to save the cat and going into her youngest son's room and grabbing a hoodie and his pajamas, because she had been taking a bath and was wrapped in a towel.

They all ended up in the backyard. Irving and Munro-Rowbotham tried to call 911 on their cell phones but had no reception, so they shouted to the neighbours to call 911.

Firefighters arrived on the scene, and eventually all four made it to the front of the home.

The cat, Jagger, which belonged to Durack's daughter Deedee Ferguson, didn't make it, along with a bearded dragon that lived in the home.

A second bearded dragon did survive.

The family credits Irving with saving their lives.

"Brandon kept checking to see if we were OK. He was the keeper of us all," said Durack.

Adding to the family's misfortune, is Axel Ferguson was recently riding his bike home from school when he was hit by a truck and run over by its trailer in an intersection.

He sustained serious injuries on his left side including huge bruises, a tire mark on his stomach and muscle damage.

"It's just horrible. First I had the injury and now all my stuff is gone," he said.

Durack said all her valuables were locked up in her room and now that room is ash.

Everything from videos of her children to old family pictures, thousands of dollars worth of clothing and furniture is all gone, she said.

"I am already a single mom who is struggling and this happens," she said. 

Emergency Social Services has been assisting the family. For the last few nights they have had a place to stay at the Sandman.

Axel said some of his friends are also raising money for the family.

Anyone who can help out with a place to stay, clothing and financial aid, can contact the family at (250) 328-1010.

On Monday, a fire inspector was at the scene of the blaze. Fire Chief Wayne Williams said the cause remains under investigation.



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