July 11, 2018 5:55 pm
Updated: July 11, 2018 9:00 pm

‘Nobody could believe I was Canadian’: Penticton fire victim struggles to replace crucial personal documents

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Janet Trimble still has nightmares and flashbacks after waking up to flames burning her home.

“I sat up and there was like a fire bolt that shot passed my window,” she said.

“Flames were coming up to my bedroom window when I got out of the room and I hadn’t time to grab anything.”

READ MORE: 3-alarm early morning fire at Penticton motel

On May 16 around 3 a.m., the 79-year-old’s dream house, built 16 years ago on Finnerty Road in Penticton, burned to the ground.

“When we arrived on scene, the entire roof structure was starting to cave in and was on fire,” Mike Richards of the Penticton Fire Department said at the time.

The family dog is credited with waking up the three sleeping residents.

WATCH BELOW: Barking dog awakens residents who flee Penticton house fire


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Trimble said fire investigators determined the ignition source were old rags used to wipe up excess deck stain that were tossed in the trash.

“Apparently they combusted and blew up,” she said.

Trimble lost almost everything in the fire, including personal documents.

READ MORE: Firefighters prepare near Penticton for summer wildfire season

Born in Great Britain, the senior immigrated to Canada in 1975 and became a Canadian citizen four years later.

Without her citizenship documents she can’t replace her passport.

“Because nobody could believe I was Canadian. I’ve lived in the country for 44 years,” she said.

Trimble said she’s been informed she’ll have to wait up to half a year to receive a passport.

READ MORE: Grass fire burns close to Penticton homes

“Why do I have to wait six months for a passport when I’m a Canadian citizen?” she asked.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said in a statement to Global Okanagan that individuals may request urgent processing of their application for a replacement citizenship certificate if they require it to access benefits, get a job, or travel due to a death or serious injury in the family.

Trimble suggests the process should be expedited for victims of unfortunate circumstances.

“I’ve got relatives that want to take me on holiday, give me a bit of a break because I’ve got a lot of trauma.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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