A devastating house fire has cost five people thousands of dollars in possessions as well as a place to call home.
The fire happened last Wednesday, Nov. 11 in the 2200-block of Shelbourne Street in Victoria.
The fire was contained to the second floor of the home, but both smoke and water damage were extensive.
All five tenants and two pets were able to make it out safely, but have now been forced to find alternative places to live for the foreseeable future.
On Tuesday, some of the tenants were back at the home to continue sifting through to find possessions that haven’t been destroyed. Sami-Reid Cooney, whose room was closest to the fire, has lost nearly everything.
“I lost 7,000 dollars of just scuba and camera equipment. All my clothes, all everything, I don’t know, I’m slowly kind of adding things up, I’m at like, it’s somewhere between 10-15 thousand dollars” Cooney said. She says the past six days have been a struggle.
“I was stuttering for days afterwards. We have a roommate that from chronic stress has pulled her back and she’s been in bed for two days. The residuals of things like this are what gets to you.”
To make matters worse, the group of roommates don’t have renters insurance. Cooney says as a younger person, it’s something that she’s never really thought of until this happened.
The Executive Director of Together against Poverty Society Doug King says it’s very common for renters to not have insurance, and thinks for should be done to make it more affordable, especially in more expensive markets like Victoria.
“The market is so difficult for tenants, tenants are already paying so much of their income to their actual rent, for a lot of people there’s isn’t much left to pay tenants insurance on top of that,” said King.
Despite the tough times, Cooney and the others are full of gratitude for the outpouring of support from the community
“Honestly I feel really grateful, I feel exceptionally well supported and loved by the Victoria community.” Cooney said.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the tenants with housing costs, as well as replacing lost possessions.
The cause of the fire, which caused roughly $250,000 in damage, is not yet known.