An Abbotsford family of seven escaped a house fire on Saturday afternoon with only the clothes they were wearing.
Ron Hull, assistant fire chief with Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service, said the two-storey home in the 3500 block of Hallert Road – east of Highway 11 on Matsqui Prairie – has been deemed a “total loss.”
He said crews were called just after 4 p.m. and, when they arrived, the home was fully engulfed in flames. Hull said about 40 firefighters from six halls battled the blaze, but they were unable to save the home.
He said the cause of the fire has not yet been confirmed, but it is not believed to be suspicious.
Hull said emergency social services has stepped in to provide temporary help for the family.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe account has been started to help the family that had been living in the rental home for the last year.
The home was occupied by mom and dad Sabrina and Brian Colbourne, their four kids – Hayden, 16, Mason, 13, Rylan, 12, and Nevaeh, 10 – and Brian’s friend and father figure, Ed Kirton.
Family friend Cara Parks, who started the GoFundMe account, said the family was at home Saturday when they heard a loud noise from outside. She said that when Brian opened the door, flames shot at him and appeared to come from an outside electrical panel.
He yelled at his family to get out of the home, and when one of the adults turned around to get keys, another explosion occurred, shooting another flame.
Parks said the family had no time to grab anything, not even their shoes or any of their four pets – three cats and a 13-year-old dog, all of which perished in the blaze.
She said the family has lost everything – both of their vehicles were also damaged – and they didn’t have insurance to cover their losses, although Brian and Ed have been able to continue working through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We understand this fundraiser can’t bring their pets back or relieve the pain of their broken-hearted family, but we do hope it helps with their stress levels by helping them secure new housing and replace lost clothing and furniture,” Parks wrote on the GoFundMe page for the family.
The page can be found by searching “The Colbourne Family Housefire Fund” at gofundme.com.