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Friends rally to help after fire engulfs home

Home on Telegraph Road catches fire

Friends of Mill Bay’s Steven Cayer are gathering together to help raise funds to help him rebuild his life after his home near the intersection of Pemberton and Telegraph Roads in Mill Bay went up in flames around 8 a.m. Friday morning, March 31. On a gofundme page, the few details tell a sad story: “To those who can help Steven Cayer who has lost his house, all of his belongings some extra money along with two of his cars and a dirtbike to a house fire March 31 in Mill Bay: He has a place to stay but it isn’t home to him. This tragic set back and money loss has left him with very little.”

By Monday, $1,130 of a hoped-for $6,000 had been raised. To help, visit

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Cayer, 25, who was renting the house, also races drift cars at Western Speedway and although he lost a couple of vehicles they weren’t the ones he races.

“One of them was actually the first car I ever got, though. I got it when I was 15. The other car was just one I was driving around,” he said.

When the fire started, Cayer was at work but his girlfriend, Lita Latkin, sprang into action, making sure the people who were staying with them and who were upstairs when the fire broke out, all escaped safely.

The sight of the fire drew the immediate attention of realtor Kim Johannsen. He said Friday that he saw “pillars of smoke” rising from the structure as he approached it on his way to work at approximately 8:30 a.m.

He said the home was engulfed in flames and he pulled over to see if could provide any assistance.

Volunteers from the Mill Bay, Cowichan Bay and Shawnigan Lake fire departments were quickly on the scene as well.

“The firefighters had to use tanker trucks to bring in water to fight the fire. They were getting the blaze under control by the time I left.”

The burnt-out house is a grim sight. Smoke and water damage would both affect anything left, Cayer said.

“There was two feet of water in the whole basement by the time they’d got the fire under control, but there might be a few things that are saveable in there. I don’t know yet; I still have to find out.”

Since the fire, he’s been able to stay at his girlfriend’s mother’s house.

No people were injured in the fire.

“There was a puppy, though. He got some burns but he’s going to pull through,” he said.

Now, with the help of friends, and the gofundme page started by Latkin, it’s time to try to rebuild his life.

“I’ve seen people I’ve met from racing over the years who are helping, which is huge. We’ve had clothing donations, which is also great for myself and the people who were upstairs,” he said.