A house fire that burned down a Royston man’s home has destroyed his family’s belongings and memories.
Fred Shelly was returning home to Royston from Parksville Saturday evening when a neighbour called to tell him his house was on fire.
“It’s beyond devastating,” said Shelly. “I saw the smoke and then it was still pretty well engulfed when I got [there].”
Flames broke out at the home around 6:45 p.m.
Shelley’s neighbour, Dennis Newman, lives two doors down and saw the first few flames but said they were already moving too quickly to try to put out.
“The wind we had yesterday, I mean it completely engulfed the house in no time at all. It was amazing how fast it went,” said Newman.
Other neighbours used garden hoses to prevent the burning grass near the house to spread to a nearby home.
Courtenay firefighters battled the flames but there was little they could do to save the home.
Newman has his own attachment to the house, he built it and raised his kids there in the early 1990s.
“Yeah I raised my family there and it was very sad to see it go,” added Newman.
Fred Shelly’s daughter and her boyfriend live with him but no one was home for several hours before the flames broke out.
“No one was hurt thank God,” said Shelly. “The house can be rebuilt but memories can’t be replaced. All your pictures, everything, it’s just gone.”
The losses are substantial. Just about everything they own was destroyed.
“It’s not like someone has broken into your house and taken a few things, fire doesn’t care what’s there it takes everything,” added Shelly.
Shelley does have insurance and had just renewed his policy last week, but doesn’t know how much will be covered.
The cause has not been determined but witnesses tell CHEK News, the fire appears to have started outside, on or under the deck at the front of the house.
Friends have set up a GoFundMe page for Shelly and his daughter and her boyfriend to help them get back on their feet.
A link to it can be found here.
READ MORE: Firefighters battle blaze at residential construction site in Langford