‘I just wish my mom and brother got out’: teen survivor of fatal North Vancouver fire speaks
“I don’t care about the apartment, I don’t care about the possessions I lost, I just wish my mom and brother got out. I wish I was in their place. I wish they got out instead of me. Because my family needs my mom, my brother, more than they need me.”
Young Sohail Koshkoye Delshad fights back tears as he speaks just one day after losing his mom and younger brother in a house fire in North Vancouver.
WATCH: North Vancouver teen mourns his mother and brother lost in fire
Flames broke out at the Mountain Village Apartment complex in the 2000-block of Whiteley Court around 2:30 a.m. Monday.
While 14-year-old Sohail and his dad escaped the flames, his mom, Narges Casnajad, 50, and his seven-year-old brother Sepehr, were killed in the fire.
“I’m glad they died together at least because my mom couldn’t survive without my brother and my brother couldn’t survive without my mom. At least I’m old enough to get through it, I guess,” says Sohail.
He was sleeping when the fire broke out early Monday morning. His dad was in the living room, while his brother, who had the flu, was sleeping with his mom.
“I hear my dad yelling, ‘Fire! Fire!’ so I ran into the hallway and I saw the fire coming through the front door and the front door was burned down and the fire was coming closer and closer,” says Sohail.
LISTEN: Sohail speaks to Global News:
His dad went to the balcony so Sohail ran to his mother’s room. He knocked out the insect screen.
“I took my brother and I tried to push him onto the trampoline. I pushed him and he whipped his head back because he was scared I guess. And I fell down and I looked around and there was so much smoke I couldn’t see where they were. I felt around and I couldn’t feel them. If I talked, more smoke would go in so I didn’t know what to do so I just turned around and jumped.”
He says when he looked up at their building, he saw his dad still standing on the balcony. Sohail yelled at him to jump.
“And just as he jumped, the propane tank exploded on the balcony,” he said.
“I kept yelling at my mom and my brother, ‘Jump! Jump!’ but I couldn’t see them and the fire came out of the window and by the time the firefighters got here, it was all burnt up.”
“I knew they were dead in that moment.”
When the firefighters arrived, Sohail said his dad was screaming so they were both put in an ambulance and taken to Vancouver General Hospital.
“My family thought my mom and my brother were alive — they were denying it,” he says.
“I keep thinking back to what happened and how I could have done something but I don’t know. I feel like I could have done something more.”
A GoFundMe has now been started for the family and Sohail says students at his school have started a fundraiser and have been reaching out.
WATCH: A mother and her young child are dead after a fire in North Vancouver. As Tanya Beja reports, fire officials are now focused on finding out what happened.
He is still in shock about what happened to his mom and his young brother.
“My brother, he was always having fun,” he says. “He bugged me a lot but he was always having fun. I loved him a lot.”
“My mom, she was so kind, she helped everyone out. She brought half my family here. She helped everyone she could, she was so kind.”
Sohail says his dad is very distraught and is suffering from burns on his arms and legs.
He doesn’t know what the future holds for them now.
When asked what he would say to his mom and brother, Sohail had a simple message.
“I love you so much and I wish I was in your place,” he says. “I wish you guys got out instead of me.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Police say there is extensive damage to the 17 units of the fire-ravaged building. Approximately 70 residents have been permanently displaced from that apartment building.
How you can help
Donations can be made to the family’s GoFundMe page.
Donations can also be made to help all the families displaced by the fire and the money will be divided between them.
In addition, the Lynn Valley Lions Club is stepping in to help out when the 72 hours of help from Emergency Management Services is over.
The Lynn Valley Lions Club Society is working with Lynn Valley Centre who is offering space for the drop-off location of donations.
A donation drop off at the Lynn Valley Lions trailer near the beer garden at Lynn Valley Days
Saturday June 16 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The Lynn Valley Centre location (TBA. Please do not drop off until confirmed)
Starting Monday June 18 then to continue on weekdays
7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
They have set up a bank account at Blueshore Financial Lynn Valley, account name Fire Relief 93081553.
— With files from Paul Haysom
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