Following a devastating fire, a Nanaimo family can now only look on from a distance at what’s been their home for the past five years.

The house now lies in ruins behind a fire line after a fire on Oct. 30 tore through it. The young mother and her four daughters were all inside when it started. 

“As I’m dialling 911 and on the phone with them, I’m already upstairs grabbing the kids,” said Brettnee Elder,

Brettnee was just putting her little girls — aged 5,4,3 and 1 — down for a nap last Wednesday afternoon when she got a bad feeling to go back downstairs and check the area around the fireplace.

She says it was hazy, so opened some windows and that’s when she says she heard the crackling. The roof and attic of the Burma Road home were on fire. She raced to the girls’ room and got them out with just the clothes on their backs.

“It happened so fast,” said Brettnee.

“Something pulled me back in that room. I’m going to have to say it was God.”
 
“It could have gone totally different,” said Brettnee’s husband, Ernie Elder.

“She could have gone and had a nap with the kids because she just put them up for a nap.”

Fire investigators say the blaze appears to have started in dry moss on the roof when sparks rising from the chimney ignited it.

“It sucks losing everything that we lost but they’re more important,” said Ernie.

“That’s all I could ask for you know,” said Brettnee.

“I got them all out safe.”

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family, who was uninsured and renting the Burma Road home, get back on their feet.

While the family has lost everything they own, they are grateful Brettnee trusted her mother’s intuition.