More families have been affected by last week’s Boundary Road house fire than what was initially reported, The Progress has learned.
A total of three families totalling 15 people were living in the house at the time of the fire, said one of the residents. They include an older woman and her 90-year-old father in one of the suites, a family of four in another suite, and the landlords (a family of nine) in the main part of the large house.
The fire broke out around 7:45 p.m. on Thursday, June 17 in the 3900 block of Boundary Road near No. 4 Road, right on the border of Chilliwack and Abbotsford.
“If it weren’t for my cousins and a tractor driving down the road we wouldn’t have noticed the fire until it was too late to get the two people trapped out,” said one resident, a 17-year-old girl.
The Progress is not publishing the names of the fire victims for privacy reasons.
According to a her, seven of the 15 people were at home at the time of the fire, including her and her infant cousin.
“I just remember I was playing on the computer with the baby monitor nearby to listen on my little baby cousin next door and it had been quiet… birds chirping and then all of a sudden I hear yelling on the baby monitor saying everyone needs to get out of the house and that it was on fire,” she said. “The baby was the first to be removed from the house.”
The teen also recalled a man yelling and pounding on the door, and then him helping to make sure everyone got out of the house, including two cats.
The older woman and her 90-year-old father were trapped in their suite with their door up in flames. A window was smashed to help pull the two out. The man suffered a laceration and was later taken to hospital.
Approximately 30 firefighters responded from Chilliwack Fire Department Halls 1, 3, 4 and 6. They were able to rescue a turtle and some pet fish from the house.
“The most important thing was that everyone got out safe,” the 17-year-old teen said.
Her mother stressed “how lucky we all were that a few relatives and a few others drove by to see the smoke.” She said her family of four is related to the family of nine and that they “have a big family who is also very supportive.”
Five children and three adults were not home at the time of the fire.
It is believed two of the three families do not have insurance.
The teen and her mother said they have not yet been able to go back into the house to see what, if anything, is salvageable but that everyone who was living there has some place to sleep temporarily.
“People from the community have been super supportive and helpful so far which we are super thankful for,” the 17-year-old said.