Maple Ridge helping out victims of fire that destroyed house

Flames broke out about 3 a.m., seven people left homeless

Jessica Laxton, red, lost everything in Haney fire last week.

Jessica Laxton and her husband Bill Connell have been trying to put together the pieces of their life after a fire destroyed their home last week.

Thankfully, they’ve had a lot of help.

“It’s amazing how willing to help everyone has been,” said Laxton. “We are so thankful, everyone’s been so good to us.”

Laxton and Connell were two of the eight people left homeless after a fire destroyed two homes in the 11700-block of 223rd Street in Maple Ridge early last Thursday.

“We’re alive, that’s all that matters,” said Laxton.

The couple lost everything, but thanks to the generosity of their fellow Maple Ridge residents and neighbours, they are slowly getting back on their feet.

For the past week, the couple has been staying with a friend of Laxton’s, and on Monday, the couple was able to find a new apartment.

Members of the NorthRidge Foursquare Church chipped in to buy the couple a new pillow-top bed.

“So many people have reached out to us,” Laxton said.

However, Jack,  Laxton’s year-old orange tabby cat, has been missing since the fire.

“He’s been spotted around the neighbourhood, so we’re hoping someone finds him,” she said.

While the past year has been fraught with hardships for the couple, little Jack has always been a comfort to Laxton. In the past 12 months, Laxton suffered a miscarriage, her father-in-law and two of her husband’s uncles passed away, and the couple even had to put down their 14-year-old dog.

“Through it all, my little cat was there,” she said.

Laxton is offering a $100 reward for the return of Jack.

• The District of Maple Ridge’s emergency program and the Salvation Army’s Caring Place Ministries are helping to those left homeless by the fire. Donations of household items are being collected at the Salvation Army Thrift Store at 20110 Lougheed Hwy. in Maple Ridge, while monetary donations can be dropped off or mailed to the Salvation Army’s Caring Place, at 22188 Lougheed Hwy., Maple Ridge. Info.: 604-463-5221.

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