Port Alberni mother, daughter lose everything in house fire

Port Alberni mother, daughter lose everything in house fire
Port Alberni Fire Department
Port Alberni firefighters work on putting out a house fire on Jan. 9, 2020.

Port Alberni firefighters were called to the fire at 8:48 p.m. When firefighters arrived, they found flames coming out of three sides of the house.

Firefighters were able to save the other homes on both sides of the fire as they worked to extinguish the flames.

Monica Odenwald said she had left to pick up her 16-year-old daughter from dance lessons and when she was coming home, she was following the fire department, not knowing they would stop at her house.

“On the way back home we were following the fire truck coming along Third and that was our house,” she said. “The flames were just shooting into the air.”

Neighbours jumped into action not knowing if anyone was inside the burning house.

“I smashed the window in with a 2×4 or whatever I could use and I was yelling in there and no one was in there,” said Ken Johnson who lives across the street.

The fire department said the cause of the fire is still being investigated and the damage inside is extensive.

“It took quite a while to put it out and we didn’t end up putting anyone in the building, it was a defensive attack due to the volume of fire we had on arrival,” said Deputy Fire Chief Wes Patterson.

Odenwald said she lost “literally everything” in the fire but said she had a bag with important documents near the front door in case of a tsunami or other natural disaster. She was able to get the bag on Thursday morning.

“All the keepsakes, like years and years of keepsake totes and her little dance shoes since she was two and all the way up now to you know she’s 16 and just all the photo albums and the pictures and the laptop with that much more,” said Odenwald.

Odenwald has three cats and one of them is still missing. She owns the house and has lived there for 11 years.

The Red Cross is now assisting Odenwald and has found her a hotel for a couple of nights. She is now in need of a rental suite.

Odenwald is unsure what her limited insurance will cover. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help her and her daughter Samantha.


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