Kathleen August’s young son Vincent, six, was helicoptered to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver to be treated for burns and smoke inhalation as a result of the Aug. 25 Dingwall Street townhouse fire.
As of Monday evening Vincent was healing well.
Flames tore through the Four Cedars townhouse complex around 10:40 p.m., displacing many of those who lived there and sending six residents to Cowichan District Hospital, with one, young Vincent, in serious condition.
Donations on a GoFundMe page set up by August’s best friend Becky Daigle had reached $14,795, well beyond the $5,000 goal by Monday afternoon.
“She has more than enough to worry about right now, without adding money to the mix, and I’m hoping we can ease that worry for her,” ,” wrote Daigle on the GoFundMe page.
Daigle describes August as “a single mom with a full-time job, she is loving and caring and kind to everyone — and this beautiful soul could really use some support right now.”
On Monday evening Daigle said Vincent is doing well.
“The surgeon said he’s healing very well and that hopefully they shouldn’t have to be there for more than two weeks. He is slowly wanting to eat and drink more with each day of healing. He’s a very strong and resilient little boy, much like his Mama.”
To help August get back on her feet visit https://gofund.me/a553c029 .
Alternatively, a second GoFundMe for the family has been set up at https://gofund.me/ead2bab0 by a mom from August’s kids’ school.
“I’m just a mom from the kids’ school trying to help raise money,” said Christine Gagnon. “I’ve been in contact with Kathleen.”
Another young family, mom Eyvette Elliott, her partner Braeden, and her son Donovan, were rushed out of their home in the burning structure, with no shoes or change of clothes.
Eyvette’s mother Rhonda Elliott has set up a GoFundMe that’s raised roughly $400 more than its $5,000 goal.
“With just weeks away from school starting for both Donovan and Eyvette, they both need some comfort knowing their basic needs are met at this time,” Rhonda wrote. “But more so to find a place to call home where they can feel safe and secure during this time. Starting over isn’t easy and any little bit helps.”
Her GoFundMe page can be found at https://gofund.me/97a9f368.
“Not the greatest way to wrap up an already so different summer, what with other worldly events,” Evyette later told the Citizen. She said they’re moving forward as best they can: she’s headed to work on her Masters degree in Community Planning at VIU while her son is set to for Grade 3 this fall.
A fourth GoFundMe has been set up by Dan Hudson. His goal is $3,000.
“We are one of the families displaced by the Dingwall Street fire,” he said on his GoFundMe page. “We have been told that we have to move due to water damage and have not been back into the unit since we left with the clothes on our back. We basically have to start from scratch!”
Leisel Gerein knows the feeling.
She and her partner Ashton moved into the Four Cedars just a month ago.
“My understanding from the fire marshall, as well as first hand experience on the night, is that the fire originated in the unit below us. It spread very quickly — flames and smoke were already in our unit and up the outside stairwell by the time we were able to evacuate — probably under a minute from being alerted,” Gerein said.
Like the others, Gerein doesn’t know if and when they’ll be able to return or if they’ll find anything salvagable once they are.
“The uncertainty is definitely the hardest thing right now. On the other hand, we are incredibly fortunate to have our health and safety. A huge thank you is due to the Emergency Support Services that responded and provided support to us through these first couple of days. Our hearts are with the boy who was injured and with his family.”
Ways to support other fire victims are still being worked out. All four GoFundMe campaigns have been verified by the Citizen for validity.
Meanwhile, the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP are investigating the cause of the fire.
“Investigators will continue to work on this incident to determine what was caused this fire,” said Staff Sgt. Chris Swain, acting detachment commander. “The preliminary report appears to show it was unintentionally caused, but the final fire report will take some time for a proper determination.”