Brad sits among the burned debris after his owners were forced from their Kootenay Ave. home by a kitchen fire.

Brad sits among the burned debris after his owners were forced from their Kootenay Ave. home by a kitchen fire.

Prince Rupert family seeking clothing, essentials and a home for their dog following fire

A Prince Rupert family is hoping the community will open their hearts with donations of clothes, and one will open their home to a husky.

Sitting among the smoke damaged furniture, his owners being run out of the house by an Oct. 8 fire that raged through the building, Brad the husky is hoping a family in town will open their homes and their hearts so he is no longer alone.

Margot Vandenberg, and the Vandenberg family — consisting of her husband, five children, and two-year old granddaughter and a friend of the family — were victims of a kitchen fire that  forced them out of their home. The fire resulted in the family losing most of their possessions, and has the Vandenberg family scrambling to find a temporary home for their dog Brad.

The Vandenberg’s problems began on Oct. 8, when, shortly after 11 p.m., a fire broke out in the kitchen of their house on Kootenay Ave. The family was woken by a neighbour who noticed flames coming out of the window.

“He was pounding on my door, screaming ‘Get out of the house!’,” Margot said.

Margot and her eldest son Lance tried to extinguish the blaze and, in the process, suffered smoke inhalation.

“Him and I were the last ones out of the house … we didn’t want to lose all of our stuff,” Margot said, adding the two wound up in the hospital for their efforts.

“We could not get the fire out,” she said.

Fortunately no one suffered serious injuries because of the fire, but the family cannot move home for an estimated three to six months as the insurance agents undertake their investigation.

The first three nights following the fire, emergency services rented three rooms for the family at the Highliner Inn. Since then, they have been moved to Parkside Resort Motel, with their insurance providers covering the costs. Now the Vandenbergs are hoping to find an apartment to rent temporarily, while their insurance company completes its investigation.

While the fire did not completely destroy the home, it did ruin most of the Vandenberg’s possessions.

“Everything on the top floor is gone … because black smoke settled on everything,” Margot said.

“We have nothing at all. If we find an apartment, we’ll need stuff for sure.”

Another top priority for the family is to find a temporary home for Brad, the family’s husky/wolf cross, who is currently staying at the home. The Vandenbergs cannot afford to house Brad at the SPCA until they can return home, and are hoping someone can open up their home to Brad for the time being.

“We’re having a hard time going back and forth. With all the people going in, our dog gets really excited,” Margot said, adding the family feels bad about leaving the dog at the house alone.

Brad is friendly with cats, having lived with two without incident, and is good with children. But Brad isn’t friendly with other dogs, and needs a strong individual to handle him on leash. He also has a tendency to run away and needs to be under close watch.

The family is calling out for donations of couches, beds, a kitchen table and chairs, kitchen utensils and appliances. The Vandenbergs are also in need of clothing in men’s XXL and L, teen lady M, young boy size 10-12, and baby girl size 3/4, as well as men’s shoes in sizes 13 and 10, boys size 6, and women’s size 8, as well as baby girl size 10/11.

The Vandenbergs may have lost most of their possessions, but Margot said she’s thankful for the neighbour that alerted them of the fire.

“I haven’t thanked the neighbour yet for waking us up. He was screaming and pounded on the door to make sure we all heard him … It still makes me emotional because me and my kids would’ve burned in there if it wasn’t for him,” Margot said.

Prince Rupert fire chief Dave Mckenzie is warning the public to be cautious while cooking, and to ensure homes have properly working fire detecters.

Anyone wishing to donate to the Vandenberg family is asked to contact Margot at the Parkside Resort Motel in Room No. 54.