Following the blaze in Gateway, which reduced the four-plex they were living in to charred rubble, six adults and a child were visited by 100 Mile Emergency Support Services (ESS) director Liz Jones on Nov. 23.
Jones says ESS will supply everyone with housing, clothing and food for 72 hours.
ESS members helped people shop items because they didn’t have any way of getting around, she adds.
“We are helping people today (Nov. 24) to get their IDs replaced for the ones who can’t do it themselves.”
She notes some don’t have vehicles and others need a little bit more help getting around.
Jones says they are looking for a folding walker and a nebulizer (a medication delivery device) – both of which burned up in the fire.
“We are looking for rentals to relocate four families and the composition is couples and one person with a child and, possibly, pet friendly.”
Anyone who can help out with items can call Liz at 250-706-2720.
When the 72-hour ESS support is reached, Jones says they hope evacuees have found somewhere to live. “Otherwise, they are on their own. Basically, our job is 72 hours.
“Then we turn them over to other services if they’re still needing aid – possibly BC Housing or Social Services if they are in need of it. These are just commonalities; these are not specific to this case.”
Sometimes it’s Red Cross and St. John’s Ambulance also helps in these situations, she explains.
“Most people, we found, are pretty resilient and will find something. Either through our ability to help them or their own initiative, they will move on fairly quickly. Our job is to try to help them through the initial disaster and enable them to get on through their lives the best they can.”
Jones thanks the neighbour who took everyone in and was “absolutely amazing for giving us a warm place to do our paperwork, and help give the evacuees a relaxing place to stay.”