View Royal fire victim overwhelmed by outpouring of support


WATCH: View Royal fire victim says strangers have given her hope again after losing everything she owned in a devastating blaze. Tess van Straaten has this CHEK exclusive.

Sheila Bridger hasn’t had much sleep in the last three days.

“I still wake up at night and think I’m in a fire and every sound right now is a bit terrifying,” Bridger says.

The View Royal grandmother lost everything after a suspicious fire engulfed her neighbour’s mobile home and quickly spread to her unit.

Her gravelly ill husband and two grandsons all made it out safely but they didn’t know what they were going to do.

After CHEK’s story aired Thursday, the community rallied to help and within hours of being set up, a GoFundMe page had already raised more than $12,000.

“I am overwhelmed,” says a crying Bridger. “I want to thank everybody for everything that they’re doing. I was shocked that we had the response that we had.”

Bridger’s family is also shocked and surprised at the kindness of total strangers.

“I think it’s incredible,” says Lisa Bridger, Sheila’s daughter. “I really didn’t expect the community to reach out to them so quickly. We were answering emails until the wee hours of the morning, thank you messages to people.”

But since the fire late Tuesday night, the family’s been separated — forced to stay with different family members and friends because no one has enough space to take them all in.

“They’re all separated until they can find a new place to live,” Lisa Bridger says. “I’m really hoping someone can reach out and give them a place to stay, an apartment they could all be together again in.”

People are already offering furniture and household items and Target Storage is donating a locker to store them in until they find a place.

“I want to thank everybody from the bottom of my heart,” an emotional Sheila Bridger says. “It is so nice to know that there are people out there that care about other people.”

And while the money is a huge help, Bridger says she’s been given something much more valuable.

“Strangers have given me hope because I lost hope on Tuesday evening and these people that I don’t know I’d like to hug everyone of them.”

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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