B.C. Ambulance Service paramedics bring the Elder family’s youngest daughter to an ambulance to be checked over as Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews battle a house fire on Burma Road on Wednesday. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Nanaimo family with four young daughters loses all their possessions in house fire

Cousin starts Gofundme for family who lived on Burma Road

A Nanaimo family with four young daughters isn’t sure where they’ll go next after the house they were renting was destroyed by fire.

Selina Schlief of West Kelowna has started a Gofundme for her cousins Ernest and Brettnee Elder and their children, who lost all their possessions in a house fire Wednesday on Burma Road and didn’t have tenants’ insurance.

story continues below

Brettnee was home with her daughters and was home-schooling the eldest, who is five years old. Brettnee had actually specifically shown her daughter the process of starting the fire that morning as a bit of a lesson.

Brettnee noticed the house got “kind of smoky,” so she double-checked the fireplace vent, opened some windows, and had just resumed her housework when she heard a crackling sound coming from the roof. She scrambled to get her kids out of the house – the baby was wearing only a diaper – called 911 and looked for the garden hose, which was attached to a trailer and not easily accessible.

By the time Nanaimo Fire Rescue arrived on scene, the house was fully engulfed in flame.

RELATED: Occupants safely out of burning house in north Nanaimo

Brettnee said her kids were good and didn’t panic in the emergency.

“I told them, it’s OK, God’s with us, it’s material stuff, we can get a new home, we can get new stuff. As long as we have our family, that’s our home, wherever we are together,’” she said.

Firefighters rescued one cat with singed whiskers and a dog that the family was pet-sitting is also safe, but two cats are still unaccounted for.

Brettnee said some of the possessions she’s most upset to lose are wedding photos and identification. Ernie lost “tons and tons and tons” of remote-control cars.

“A huge collection he had going; he’s really devastated, I’m like, ‘I’m sorry babe, we’ll get you new RCs,” she said.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue confirmed that the family did not have tenants’ insurance. Brettnee said she actually tried to get insurance, but wasn’t able to because the lease was in her mom’s name.

The Elder family may go to stay with family in the Okanagan, but Brettnee said they want to stay in Nanaimo long enough to get a chance to salvage what they can from the Burma Road house first. She said yesterday was “not a good day,” but she was keeping a positive perspective.

“I had a really rough upbringing, I was homeless a lot,” she said. “It’s a tragedy, but we’ll move on from it.”

For a link to the Gofundme page, click here.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Talks continue over new aquatic centre for Alberni Valley

Joint ACRD, City of Port Alberni committee asks for staff report on next steps

BCHL: Bulldogs’ win streak snapped by Powell River Kings

Josh Zary had the lone goal for Port Alberni

Alberni vet heading to Africa with Veterinarians Without Borders

Dr. Roberta Templeton and her vet husband will help dairy farmers in Uganda

B.C.-born hockey official talks to IIHF about switching European rule book to NHL rules

Rob Shick will represent NHL at 4th World Hockey Forum in Russia

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Sail Past lights up Alberni Inlet

Annual Sail Past took place at Harbour Quay

Province sues over sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after marine lift failed

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Vancouver Island blues musician’s mother’s home burglarized and ransacked

David Gogo’s 71-year-old mother has jewelry and artwork stolen in break-in

Most Read