A GoFundMe account has been set up for a Lone Butte man who lost everything in a house fire Monday night.
Kathleen Busch said her brother Michael was trying to stay warm amid the extreme temperatures by lighting a fire and using space heaters when his trailer - where he has lived for 16 years - caught fire. The cause of the blaze is unknown.
Busch said her brother had been sleeping in the living room so he could get up every couple of house to keep the fire going.
“Mike literally woke up to a wall of flames. He got the dogs out and grabbed his wallet. That was all the time he had,” she said “He burnt his ears and his hands getting out. But there was no time to go back.”
Busch said her brother lost everything else, including Christmas presents he had bought his six-year-old daughter who was coming to spend the holidays with him. Busch noted her brother was on disability and has no savings.
“Everything he had was in that trailer that he rented. He was most upset that his daughter’s sonogram was in among the flames and some of those mementos.”
Michael was taken to 100 Mile District General Hospital where he was treated for smoke inhalation. He and his two German Shepherds have now settled at the 100 Mile Motel thanks to Emergency Support Services, which also provided him with food and clothing vouchers.
“Emergency services in 100 Mile were so amazing,” Busch said.
ESS will cover the first three days of Michael’s stay, while the Canadian Mental Health Association South Cariboo Branch will take over providing his shelter and food.
Kristin Wells, community navigator for CMHA, said there is no time limit on how long Michael can stay at the motel as long as the family has a plan and is looking for a permanent solution. She acknowledged that affordable housing is a major problem in 100 Mile House and added that even if Michael finds a permanent home, CMHA may continue to contribute to shelter and food costs.
Busch said Michael’s daughter, who lives with her in Victoria, is worried about her dad finding him a new home. Busch noted her brother had hoped to make this Christmas special as their father just found out he has lung cancer so it may be their last Christmas together.
“His disability is very limited and rents have skyrocketed, and he has two dogs,” she said. “So your prayers for a new place to live are appreciated too.”
Some of the items he needs include boots or shoes, size 12, slippers, jeans size 33 0r 34, shirts XL and a reading glass.
Donations may be dropped off at the 100 Mile Motel office. In addition, the 100 Mile Free Press office at #1-250 Birch Ave. is accepting donations of gift cards, winter clothes, dog food or other small items.
The GoFundMe campaign aims to raise $10,000. At the time of publication, $2,570 has been raised.
To donate: https://bit.ly/3WxAanN