‘It’s been incredible’: Ukrainian priest displaced by Victoria arson says his family is overwhelmed by support

'It's been incredible': Ukrainian priest displaced by Victoria arson says his family is overwhelmed by support

A Victoria family who lost their home in an arson earlier this week says they are overwhelmed by community support as police continue to search for a suspect.

On Friday, Father Yuriy Vyshnevskyy, a priest at the Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. Nicholas, shook the hand of the man who handed him an envelope full of cash — a stranger who heard the family’s story, and waned to help.

“At times we’re just lost for words. We’re often, all that I can [muster] is just, ‘thank you,'” he said. “It’s been incredible.”

It’s one of many kindnesses the family is receiving in the aftermath of the arson that drove them out of their home early Wednesday morning.

“I spoke with premier John Horgan this morning, he phoned me last night and left a message. He wanted to express his support.”

Victoria Police have released surveillance video of a possible witness driving by the scene, taken from a neighbouring home.

Police Chief Del Manak said investigators are hoping someone recognizes the four-door light-coloured vehicle driving down the 1100-block of Caledonia Avenue shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday.

“We’re getting some tips. There is doubt about it. The community has been fantastic. There is no doubt about it,” said Manak.

Vyshnevskyy’s three young daughters had to jump from the home’s second storey during the fire, his eldest seriously injuring her arm.

“She needs another procedure. There is possible nerve damage, but this is what they are trying to see, figure out what they need to do. But everything looks promising,” said Vyshnevskyy.

The injury could have been much worse without the intervention of two officers who applied a tourniquet to stop her bleeding, according to Manak.

“In speaking to the paramedics, after the fact, they indicated to our officers the actions they took at that time for this young girl, were in fact life-saving.”

While investigators remain on scene and determine when the family will be able to safely go in to pick up their personal belongings, Father Yuriy knows exactly what he’ll be looking for.

“I will recover my wedding ring. So I left it somewhere in the house.”

For now, Victoria Police say they’re redeploying officers to this investigation as they continue their search for the person, or people responsible.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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