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Fundraiser started for tenants left hanging after apartment fire

Tenants not allowed back in to get personal items, so in need of clothes, food, gift cards
Michelle Lau with donations that have already been contributed for families kept away from home due to the Town Park Apartments fire. (Zoe Ducklow Photo)

A local business owner is starting a fundraising and donation drive for tenants ousted from their homes by the fire at Town Park Apartments C-block.

More than 25 people are out of their homes while officials assess damage, including lots of school-aged kids, toddlers and babies.

Michelle Lau just opened All In Family Support Services business, and wants to help people who have lost access to their personal items for the time being. At worst, their stuff might be damaged beyond recovery.

The fire started late Sunday night and was under control by 2:30 a.m. Monday morning. A few people were injured by jumping out of windows to escape the blaze, but no one was left in the building.

At present, tenants are not allowed back into their homes, even to retrieve personal items. Firefighters can retrieve essentials such as medication.

Emergency Support Services jumped into action as the fire was still being put out. Local coordinator volunteer Susan Bjarnason said the initial 72-hour support period has already been extended for another three days. Long-term plans are unknown.

READ MORE: ‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months

ESS volunteers fear that many tenants did not have renters insurance, and could need to replace a lot of personal belongings, such as furniture, clothes, toiletries and electronics.

Lau is accepting cash donations, gift cards, clothing and food for the tenants. She’ll keep everything in her storefront, allowing families to come one by one to get what they need.

In less than a day of accepting donations her front room has two tables full of donations of clothes, baby supplies, some snack food, bedding and even some kitchenware. Lunch and breakfast food for school-aged kids are especially needed.

The community has been particularly concerned about a dog that was injured in the commotion. Dex, a 65-lb cain corso-black Lab cross broke his forepaw when he was thrown out of a second story window in the panic. He was taken to the vet in Port Hardy, who determined surgery would be needed. The dog was sent to Campbell River for treatment on Tuesday. The vet estimated a cost of $2,000 or more. Lau is accepting donations to help with that bill as well.

All In Family Support Services is located at #5-7035 Market St, Port Hardy.

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