A large group of tenants from the Lindsay Place apartments in Esquimalt gathered outside the Church of the Nazarene Monday morning hoping to learn more about when they might be able to return home.

The apartment caught fire Sunday afternoon, destroying several units and leaving a woman in her 60’s dead.

“Someone ran by my door and slammed on it and said that we had to go so I just grabbed what was behind me and ran out the door,” said tenant Tyler Wade.

The building’s tenants are close.

“Everyone knows each other by name every day and we always talk in the hall and say hi,” said tenant Matthew Webb.

And many are still struggling with the loss of one of their own

“It’s really tragic, it’s definitely hit a bunch of us really hard,” said Wade.

When Pastor Barry Goodwin heard about the fire just a few blocks from his church, he immediately opened the doors.

“We put a lot of personal packages together with toothpaste, deodorant,” he said.

But for Goodwin, and the other volunteer groups trying to help out, providing toiletries and food only goes so far when some have lost everything they own.

“Just people losing and who do they talk to, how they work their way through this?” said an emotional Goodwin.

But the efforts of Pastor Goodwin and others in the community are truly touching for many of the tenants who were already struggling.

“He did everything for us, he gave us food and coffee and soft drinks, and this morning he gave us breakfast and lunch in the afternoon,” said tenant Rocky D’Agostino. “I just can’t say enough for these volunteers, God bless them all,” he said.

Fortunately, fire officials say most tenants will be able to return home in the next couple of days and efforts are being made to find new homes for those that can’t.

The Church of the Nazarene is keeping a list of items tenants need. If you would like to donate, you can email: [email protected] A GoFundMe has also been set up to raise $50,000 for the Esquimalt Church of the Nazarene to distribute approximately $2,000 to each of the families

April Lawrence