WATCH: Six people are homeless after a devastating fire on the Stz’uminus First Nation Monday. The flames were first spotted around 11 a.m. and despite an intense attack by firefighters from three surrounding departments, the flames were overwhelming.
A family of six watched in agony Monday while their home just reduced to fiery rubble and firefighters tried to save what was left.
“Within just a little while, just look at it,” said Tammy Gibson, looking on at the Stz’uminus First Nation home. “It’s just gone,” she said.
Tammy Gibson’s daughter and her family lived in the home. They say around 11 a.m. Monday, they looked out to see flames creeping up the garage.
“And by the time they come out of the house they saw the garage on fire like going up,” said Gibson. “And they tried to run my son and Joe ran to get a house their hose and tried to put it out with a hose and the hose was frozen,” she said.
“When we arrived it was fully involved with flames coming out all of the upper floors and the roof,” said Chemainus Fire Chief Al Irwin.
As firefighters from Chemainus, Crofton and Ladysmith rushed to the home on the First Nation that was fully engulfed in flames, one young man tried to rush back in.
“Yes my grandson tried to run back in and my nephew had to grab him and throw him right down to stop him,” said Gibson.
Wayne Gaerin restrained the young man and says he could feel his pain.
“That’s his house. That’s where he lives,” said the Stz’uminus First Nation resident. “It was sad to see the family cry. It was sad to witness a house go down,” said Gaerin.
“Right before Christmas,” said Gibson. “They were just getting their house ready. Just horrifying. You’d never think something like this could happen. They haven’t got anything left. They got the clothes on their back and my daughter didn’t even have shoes.”
Fortunately, the family’s pet was saved from the fire and no one was injured. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.