Mother's Day fire leaves North Okanagan mom on 'emotional rollercoaster' - InfoNews

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Mother's Day fire leaves North Okanagan mom on 'emotional rollercoaster'

A fire destroyed three sheds and a camper Feb.12.
Image Credit: GoFundMe
May 13, 2019 - 1:33 PM

SPALLUMCHEEN - When Mandi Tessman's son looked out of the window on Mother's Day morning from their home just north of Armstrong, he thought the shed was steaming. Rushing outside moments later to see flames bursting through the roof of the shed, her worst fears were confirmed.

"Things were exploding left right and centre," Tessman told iNFOnews.ca. "Everything was just exploding."

Hoses were grabbed and 911 called as the fire continued to burn.

A day later, Tessman is reflecting on the fire that destroyed three sheds, a fifth-wheel camper, a trailer and her children's sports gear and outdoor equipment.

"It's just an emotional rollercoaster," she said.

Mandi Tessman and her four children.
Mandi Tessman and her four children.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK

The heat from the fire melted window frames and the siding on her house, but luckily her Schubert Road home in Spallumcheen escaped the blaze.

"It's all materialistic and I'm happy that we're OK, but it's just overwhelming and a lot to take in," Tessman said. "I woke up this morning and looked out my window and I was like, 'it's real.'"

A single mother on disability, Tessman said the sheds were packed with her children's hockey equipment and winter gear, along with camping supplies and plenty of tools. She also lost around $20,000 of lumber that was supposed to be used to build a shop. The fifth-wheel camper destroyed had just been fully renovated. Tessman said she does have insurance for the sheds but the camper and trailer aren't covered.

With thousands of dollars worth of hockey equipment destroyed her kids are concerned they won't be able to play next season.

"Kids don't understand that they're just material things, to them they are more," she said.

Tessman has received an outpouring of support from friends and family, with one friend setting up a GoFundMe page for her.

"I appreciate all the love support from everyone it's just really hard," she said. "I'm usually the one that likes to do everything for everyone and now I'm relying on people... my friends tell me I have to accept it and continue on and accept the help that's offered because I do need it."

A friend has come forward to lend her some gear so she can take the family on a camping trip she planned this upcoming May long weekend. Holding back tears, Tessman is overcome with the gratitude.

Armstrong Spallumcheen Fire Department fire chief Ian Cummings said the fire was likely caused by an electrical fault. Cummings said the blaze took 15 officers around two and a half hours to extinguish.

The GoFundMe page set up to help the family financially can be found here.


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