July 18, 2013 - 6:51 AM
KELOWNA - Last night residents from the Legacy apartment building on Rutland Road gathered to meet with emergency social services at the Salvation Army Church. A fire ignited by a patio barbeque on Tuesday night ravaged the building, demolishing the roof and leaving close to seventy residents temporarily homeless.
Kyle Wetton came out of tonight's meeting with his son William in his arms. His family lived in a unit on the top floor of the building.
“Unit 403, right on the end... We lost everything unfortunately,” he says. Wetton was on his way home from work around 4:30 p.m. when he saw the puff of smoke.
"I was like, that looks like a structure fire,” he says of the black-coloured smoke, then realized, "oh, that's my place.”
Wetton made a point of getting content insurance when he moved into the building. He says he lived with his brother at the Laurentian Heights apartment a few years ago, before the building was destroyed by a fire.
“I had moved out and about six months after I moved out Laurentian heights burned down and he lost everything,” he says.
Most of his belongings are replaceable and the family photos are stored digitally.
"I've got all my videos and pictures on my phone... Those are the things you need the most,” he says.
Emergency social services is providing residents with three nights of hotel accommodation and money for expenses.
"We're put up at the Ramada for three days and then we've got our vouchers which is $150 for clothing and $50 for toiletries,” Wetton says. After the three days time he expects residents are going to have a tough time finding new accomodations.
“Start looking folks – they're gonna go fast,” he says of rental vacancies.
“We've already looked at two places today.”
While residents were inside the church for the meeting, a number of donations were dropped off in the parking area. Iria O'Grady stopped by to donate an assortment of items.
“A little bit of everything, blankets, baby stuff, crock pots, hot water bottles, pillows,” she explains. While she's never experienced losing her home, she says she can imagine what it would be like, especially having two young children of her own.
O'Grady gathered up things from her own household to donate.
“Stuff they outgrew, stuff that I have an extra of - anything I could find,” she says.
“I've been helped social service-wise before myself, so it helps to give back.”
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250) 718-0428.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013