Eric Draht - Draht Photography A total of 29 people were displaced following a fire at the Arbor Lee Strata complex Monday night. Help is now being sought for the victims.

Support sought for Vernon fire victims

Click for a video of the fire aftermath - courtesy of Eric Draht

Help is being sought for victims of Vernon’s condo fire.

The blaze that broke out at Arbor Lee Strata Monday has forced 29 people from their homes.

An estimated $2 million in damage was sustained, with eight units heavily damaged (damage was also sustained to additional units in the 14-suite complex).

While the cause of the blaze is undetermined, Vernon Fire Rescue has ruled the fire as not suspicious. Meanwhile residents are likely unable to return to the building for several months

Amanda Burton has set up a gofundme account for her sister, who lived in one of the damaged suites with her boyfriend and two young children (https://www.gofundme.com/fabnwe-emergency-funding).

“Them as well as many others have been put out of their homes now because of this,” said Burton. “Besides the fire destroying everything, there is lots of water damaged and asbestos in many of the apartments. They are now without everything and need to find a new place to live.”

The account is set up to help with the emergency costs of having to stay somewhere else while they look for a new place, as well as help with the cost of getting a new place and replacing some of the things they lost.

Those forced from their homes were put up in a hotel initially.

“But that only covers three days,” said Burton of the limited Emergency Social Services assistance. “After that they don’t really have a place to go to where they can all be together.”

Support is also being sought for Karmen Krystik who lost everything in fire, which originated on the balcony of her suite.

“I’m still in shock,” said Krystik, who is now homeless and in search of a two-bedroom, pet friendly rental – along with several other residents from the condo.

Donations for Krystik, who has a son, are being accepted via email transfers to karmenkrystik@gmail.com or by visiting the Royal Bank Village Green Centre account #07950-5134143 250 309 0808.

Others are also rallying for support in other forms.

“A friends sister and her family lost everything in the fire,” said Rosa King-Marsh. “They have two young sons (nine and 11).”

King-Marsh is collecting clothing donations for the children: size XL in boys or small men and medium/size eight boys and shoes in size four and six/seven mens. To donate email woodroffmillerfirefund@outlook.com. A gofundme account has also been set up for this family at: https://www.gofundme.com/woodroffmiller-fire-fund.

“They have lost everything except a few clothes and electronic items they were able to grab,” said sister-in-law Melissa Caterer-Miller. “They truly need our help as emergency services only help for three days and they will be displaced for an estimated six months or so. They have lost everything and are at a loss for what’s next.”

Project Linus Canada is also working to supply blankets to children from the fire.

Meanwhile the strata council for the condos has issued a statement.

“On behalf of the council and residents of Arbor Lee, appreciation is offered to the responders for their fast response and action including the Vernon Fire Department and all of the emergency services.”

Video and photo courtesy of Eric Draht/Draht Photography

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