‘Our lives are changed forever’: Calgary family loses dream home in fire

Click to play video: '‘Our lives are changed forever’: Calgary homeowner loses dream home in fire' ‘Our lives are changed forever’: Calgary homeowner loses dream home in fire
WATCH: A Calgary family that lost nearly everything is trying to put their lives back together. Fire tore through their Royal Oak neighbourhood, gutting three homes and severely damaging a fourth. Jill Croteau reports – Dec 8, 2020

Tova Matthews-Keenan, her husband Brian and daughter Marla are still processing the fact that their home is gutted.

They managed to salvage a few personal items but are left with little else after a devastating fire that destroyed three homes and severely damaged a fourth.

The couple has two other adult children who don’t live in the home.

The ceiling on the main floor is caving in. Loren Andreae/Global News

“We can go to a hotel and rent, but at the end of the day, 19 of us are homeless,” Matthews-Keenan said. “We are going to be displaced minimum a year.

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Three other homes were charred beyond recognition after fire ripped through Royal Oak Street early Monday morning.

“It’s hard because I worked so hard for this home,” Matthews-Kennan said.

“I haven’t slept.”

The back of the Matthew-Keenan home. Loren Andreae/Global News

The family returned to the home Tuesday to start tearing out what they couldn’t save. What the fire didn’t burn, smoke and water has damaged.

“I’m just taking it one day at a time — it’s more like one minute at a time,” Matthews-Keenan said.

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Losing their home has barely sunk in. They are still reeling from the middle-of-the-night shock and the race to get out in time.

Smoke and water damaged living room. Loren Andreae/Global News

“My husband started screaming and saying: ‘Get out! The neighbours’ house is on fire!’ Matthews-Kennan recalled.

“People ask me: ‘What did I grab?’ Nothing. It’s so instant, you take whatever is on your back and you just leave.”

There were countless embers raining down around her.

They are grateful for the community that has surrounded them with support. Family members have started a gofundme for them.

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A cause is still under investigation.

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