A fundraiser has been organized for a Kelowna family that lost its home in a Tuesday night fire.
“On the evening of April 3 Bonnie Kretschmer was at home when a fire broke out in the chimney of her home,” reads the GoFundMe account opened in Bonnie and Dennis Kretschmer’s names.
“Bonnie was able to escape the home to safety but lost almost everything in the fire. This go fund me campaign will help raise money to help Bonnie and Dennis replace those items they need to make life easy and as comfortable as possible in the coming days and months.”
Bonnie took to Facebook, Wednesday morning to let friends and family know she was OK and also noted she’d lost everything in the fire.
“I am fine… in shock. Very sad. Thank you to the fire department for the early warning… sad to say I didn’t get out with much… but happy that it was not in the middle of the night,”she wrote online.
For neighbours in the area, the situation felt as though it would soon go out of control.
Coun. Mohini Singh lives nearby and praised the work of the firefighters not only in knocking down the house fire, but also for snuffing out several nearby grass fires ignited by floating embers from the burning building.
She could see the tops of the flames and went home and gathered her important legal documents just in case there was an evacuation order.
“You really realize how vulnerable we are here (in McKinley Landing),” she said Wednesday.
Singh said while there is an emergency exit road out of the McKinley in addition to the one main road in and out, in the dark it would have been hard to find.
According to the Kelowna Fire Department, a call about a roof fire at a home in the 1600-block of Bennett Road came in around 8 p.m. Tuesday. When firefighters arrived, they saw flames shooting out of the roof of the large, secluded home.
The fire spread quickly from the roof into the rest of the building, which Singh described as being at the end of a very long driveway.
She said many of her neighbours were gathered on the road outside the entrance to the home watching the flames and were concerned that there may not be enough water to fight the fire.
“All we could see was flames licking the tops of the trees,” she said. “It reminded me of the 2003 wildfire.”
The KFD said at times, flames were shooting 150 feet into the air and the firefighters had to shuttle water to the scene from a hydrant 700 metres away.
The fire department battled the blaze with six fire trucks, two water tenders, a rescue and command vehicle and 25 firefighters.
The property and surrounding area is owned by Melcor Developments Ltd. The tenants did have insurance and are now in the care of Emergency Social Services.