Two La Loche families homeless after duplex fire

By Nigel Maxwell
December 29, 2017 - 2:00pm

Support is pouring in for two families in northwestern Saskatchewan, following a duplex fire just three days before Christmas.

The fire happened in La Loche, shortly after 1 a.m. 

Bertrande Fontaine was home at the time with her three young children (ages eight, five, and six months) and her 19-year-old nephew. She said she had a smoke detector but it didn't go off.

"I just left as soon as I wrapped my baby in a blanket with just his diaper on and both my girls weren't dressed either. If it wasn't for my puppy crying I would have never known there was a fire," she said.

Unfortunately Fontaine was unable to save her young dog. For now the family is staying at Fontaine's sister's house.

Next door Jada Janvier, 20, lived with her mother. Both were at a friend’s house when the fire started.

"Right when I was going home I saw the fire from the other side of town and then when I got closer, I saw my house was burning," Janvier said.

Janvier said she lost everything in the fire except the clothes on her back.

"I lost a lot of things that mean a lot to me, especially my baby pictures," she said.

Janvier's cat Yo-Yo also perished in the fire.

The Village of La Loche and Métis Local 39 have come to the rescue of the families.

Community members have been donating food, clothing and furniture. The Métis Local donated $300 worth of groceries to each family. The Village itself donated $800 to the families. Mayor Robert St. Pierre told paNOW they have money set aside in their budget for events like this.

The community will also be holding an auction on Jan. 5 to help the families. St. Pierre said tragedy brings a community closer together.

"Everything affects everybody in this community because we are all connected. We are all family," he said.

The families will be moving into new accommodations this weekend. The local housing authority found the families a new place to live and while grateful, St. Pierre said the moves comes with some sacrifice.

"It doesn't make it any easier for us because that means two families that were supposed to get those units will not be moving in right away," he said.

Like many other small communities the village is dealing with a housing shortage. Anyone interested in helping the families can contact St. Pierre through his email.

Derek Herman, Fire Chief for the La Loche Fire Dept. said the cause of the fire remains under investigation, but it's believed the fire started near the front of the structure.

 

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On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell

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