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Oliver fire victims overwhelmed by community kindness
The Oliver family who lost everything in a fire is overwhelmed with the support they have received.
“It was a really awful, devastating feeling to watch all our possessions and belonging go up in smoke but we are most thankful for having our family, town and community supporting us. The way they have come together and donating, it has been so overwhelming and we are just really thankful for everything,” said Alice Thomas.
“My kids are very thankful to have us with them and they understand that we are lucky to be here today.
“I am still finding it hard to comprehend what really happened.”
The Thomas family, which includes three young children, were startled awake by a motorist who was passing by their home and saw smoke billowing from their residence.
The motorist kicked opened the door of the home and all five of the family members escaped the burning residence with just the clothes on their back.
Oliver fire department spokesperson Rob Graham said the home was a complete loss, along with the family’s vehicle located in the garage. The fire jumped to MLA Linda Larson’s office next door and that building received smoke and water damage. As of Tuesday, Graham said there is no information from investigators as to the cause of the fire.
Thomas extended her thanks to the fire department and to all who have donated to the family, including food vouchers.
“We cannot express enough gratitude for everything,” said Thomas.
Husband Ed Thomas said the family is slowly starting to get back to their normal routines and they moved into a new residence last week. Not only have donations come through in the Okanagan, but also from their hometowns in Alberta and northern B.C.
“It is so encouraging that there is still humanity left in this world. We are grateful and blessed. We want to thank everyone for the donations from around the Okanagan Valley to our homes in Alberta and up north. They also have been sending encouraging prayers and the main thing is our kids are OK, everything else is a blessing,” said Ed.
He added that he has since spoken with the motorist who took the time to stop and help alert the family to the fire. Ed said the motorist was very humble and they showered him with thanks.