A few days ago, Khaled Alawad and his family were contemplating how to start over after their home was destroyed by fire.
Now, thanks to the compassion of a complete stranger, they have reason to be hopeful again.
The Oct. 7 blaze at the Alawad family’s townhouse in Mississauga spread to eight other homes, forcing multiple families to flee with only the clothes on their backs.
“Yesterday, we felt embarrassed and we felt, ‘What we will do?'” Alawad said. “Now today, good news for us.”
That uplifting news comes courtesy of Alex Haditaghi, who owns two buildings along Sheppard Avenue East.
In two years’ time, both buildings will belong to condo developers. But for now, one of the building’s units will become a new home for the Alawad family.
Not only that, they will have a year with a roof over their heads — rent-free.
“When the furniture goes in, when it’s cleaned up, it will look literally amazing,” beamed Alawad’s son, Odai. “All thanks, all props goes to Alex.”
Haditaghi says offering assistance to the family of five was a no-brainer for him, explaining that his own family moved to Canada from Iran as refugees.
“I wanted to help, not because I could, but because I know what it feels like to have nothing,” he told Global News on Monday.
“My family and myself, we came here in 1988… for the longest time, we were homeless and lived in a shelter.”
The fire that left the family homeless started around 2:15 a.m. Saturday. Alawad says early Friday evening, he was confronted by a man who accused him of stealing a bicycle.
He told Global News the situation escalated and the man threatened him.
Peel Regional Police confirm a 32-year-old man has been arrested and is facing charges in connection to that incident. They include uttering death threats, assault with a weapon and mischief over $5,000.
Police say the incident has not been linked to the fire.
The Adu-Boateng family, also affected by the blaze, has been living out of a hotel since the fire. They did not have tenants’ insurance, so friends launched a GoFundMe page to help them.
Jennifer Adu-Boateng is in her second year of nursing school at Seneca College. Her textbooks, school supplies, computer and other items she saved up for, were all destroyed in the fire.
“You have to go through something to feel something, so this just makes me love what I’m going to school for even more,” she said, surveying the damage to her home.
Even with their lives in a holding pattern, the family says they have tremendous gratitude for the firefighters and police who quickly responded, as well as the agencies who have assisted them since the blaze.
“Everything is in there, but I thank God that he took us out of the fire, that no one died,” said Daniela Adu-Boateng.