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Future uncertain for Kamloops mother after mobile home fire

A Kamloops woman is living in a motel trying to put the pieces of her life back together after her mobile home burned down less than a week ago, but so far she says it seems impossible.

Jackie was tarring the roof of the home with her boyfriend when the fire sparked up on May 27. She said she recently left an abusive partner so requested anonymity.

“The metal on the roof got too hot and a fire started,” she said. “All that’s left is a shell with no supports for the roof, just metal remains for the roof,” she said. “There’s so much smoke damage that except for clothing everything is garbage.”

The mother of two has fire insurance but doesn’t know yet how long it will take to get the funds. Adjusters looked at the mobile earlier this week and need to do another inspection. A structural assessment needs to happen, and she said the system is backed up.

She lives on disability income and has an autistic son and two dogs that are his comfort animals but no one will take them in. She hasn't had time to do an extensive search for a rental yet but she said finding affordable housing that allows dogs is hard to find in the city. 

“I can’t take his dogs away from him, they lay on him and console him,” she said. “He was diagnosed after the dogs were too old to get trained and certified as support dogs, but that’s what they are for him.”

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Jackie has access to her older son’s mobile home when he moves out next week, but the park manager won’t allow the dogs onsite.

“I’m angry I have to live in a hotel when I have a home that’s about to be vacant,” she said. “I’m frustrated with this mobile home park, we’re in a desperate situation.”

After a few attempts to get permission from the park, she had to “admit defeat” and move the dogs to a doggy daycare near the older son’s mobile, but it’s hard on her autistic son’s mental health and is only until better living arrangements can be made.

“My son gets severe anxiety and the dogs know how to calm him down,” Jackie said. “He was taken to the hospital after the fire for anxiety, he was dizzy and had chest pain. He needs them now more than ever since losing our home and our belongings.”

Jackie is on permanent disability and lives off those funds plus what she earns part time working from home for a virtual assistance agency. But her office and computer were lost to the fire, along with books she was using to homeschool her son.

“The adjuster gave me the go ahead to buy a replacement computer so I can go back to work,” she said. “The sitting and waiting is driving me crazy. If I can get back to working I can get my mind off things.”

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While it isn’t clear when the insurance money will come in or whether the results of the inspections will mean a rebuild of her home or a complete start over, Jackie is paying for motels and only has her mortgage paid up to June 1. Her boyfriend is studying, living on a school visa, so cannot provide much financially.

“We’re waiting on engineers and a structural assessment,” she said. “My adjuster called a service master to take more photos, they have to do everything. I’m getting the sense I’ll have to purchase a new home instead of rebuilding this one as it might not be financially worthwhile.”

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While she waits Jackie is looking at different housing opportunities in Kamloops and beyond where she can put her family, and pets back together.

“For now it’s a lot of hurry up and wait, it’s hard to be patient and keep my mind from going in all directions," she said. "I feel sorry for all the people who've gone through this from flood and fire damage in recent years." 

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