Duits lost everything in house fire
Folks asked to help the family to rebuild home
Berney and Alice Duits and their eight children lost everything they owned in a devastating house fire on their property near Sheridan Lake on July 30.
The longtime Victoria residents moved to the Sheridan Lake area nine years ago. They have 11 children and some of them have moved out and started their own families.
The Duits were out of town for a Family Day event when the fire was discovered around 4 p.m. by one of their older sons.
Family friend Chad Higgins, whose sister is married to the Duits’ oldest son, Jason, says the house was burning and the fire was spreading through the grass and into the shop when it was detected.
Because their property was out of the fire protection zone, the Interlakes Volunteer Fire Department was unable to attend the fire.
That left the Duits’ sons, family friends and a few local volunteer firefighters to fight the fire the best they could with supplies they had on hand, Higgins adds.
Unfortunately, the entire family log home was lost, and along with it, all of their belongings.
The shop, which contained all of the tools Berney used for his house-building business, in his local area, were lost in the blaze, as were their children’s dirt bikes, toys and equipment used for working on the property.
A vehicle, which the family relied on daily, was also lost during the fire.
The eight people who lived at this home no longer have anything left except the clothes on their backs.
With no insurance on the home, the Duits will be rebuilding from the ground up on their own.
It will be a long road for them to travel in the coming days, as they deal with the devastation and concentrate on rebuilding their home and their lives, Higgins notes.
“I have had the pleasure of knowing the Duits family for many years and they would give you the shirt off their backs – even today.
“Those who know the Duits know that today and always they are counting their blessings and are so thankful that no one was injured in this tragic event.
“For a family that has always given so much love and support to others, we are asking for your help today in any way possible. Any funds raised will go towards helping the family purchase food, necessities and, eventually, begin to rebuild their home.
Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers in the days ahead.”
Noting they are living in recreational vehicles, Higgins says Alice told him they are OK for clothing thanks to many donations and don’t need electrical appliances because they “live off the grid.”
A gofundme page has been set up https://www.gofundme.com/HelptheDuits
The family of eight does need cash, cheques, food and construction material.
Higgins says they could also use gift cards from Interlakes Rona, Canadian Tire or Home Depot because the family wants to rebuild and Berney needs to replace the tools he needs for work.
The drop-off site in 100 Mile House is the New Cal Rabbit Farm at 6691 Highway 97. The contacts are Steve and Marg Bishop at 250-395-3336.
• Higgins says a generous donor put $5,000 into an account at Interlakes Rona.
• During the Interlakes Rodeo on July 31, an impromptu fundraiser for Duits was held by Lydia DeGroot who raised $1,700 at her donation booth.
Another $900 was raised at the face-painting booth, when major rodeo sponsor Regency Chrysler-100 Mile House donated $10 for everyone who had their face painted during the performance.
• Borgos’ Sport Shack in 100 Mile House will be donating 100 per cent of all sales this Friday (Aug. 5) to the family.
Anyone needing more information on how to help the Duits family, can call Katherine at 250-456-6046.