Family loses it all in fire

A young family of five has lost everything they own, after a fire ripped through their house Monday afternoon.

William Mathison and Tanya Mercier did not have tenant's insurance and are faced with starting all over. “You never think it’s going to happen to you,” Mercier said.

The couple have an eight-year-old and twin three-year-olds, leaving them “panicked” about finding a place to live.

“It’s very scary, we have three days at a motel and after that we might have a place lined up in Naramata, but that’s not a guarantee. It’s the middle of the month, nobody has a place to rent in the middle of the month,” Mercier said.

However, the pair have been touched by support from the community which started while the fire was still burning. Mathison said bystanders rushed off the street to make sure the family was safely out of the home, and firefighters did their best to save photos such as one of their daughters' baby books.

“I love this town for that, it supports people … I love Penticton and want to live here for the rest of my life,” Mathison said.

Mercier's sister, who was also the family's neighbour, launched a GoFundMe page in an effort to support them while they get back on their feet.

Bills are already piling up, including a Shaw bill that will likely cost close to $1,000 after the cancellation fee is paid and rented cable boxes are replaced. Donations of clothing are also being accepted.

“If anyone knows of any rentals that are not super expensive for a family of five, let us know,” Mercier said adding they have a dog and a cat too, although the cat has not been seen since the fire.

The cause of the blaze remains undetermined, but it is not considered suspicious.


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