Joeline and Steven Dean had wanted to explore downtown Edmonton at some point. They never imagined they’d be living there, indefinitely.
“The littlest one keeps asking when we’re going home,” Joeline told Global News from the lobby of a Sandman Hotel on Monday.
“There’s been a lot of tears.”
Earlier this year, the Deans, who have three children, made the decision to move to Edmonton from Courtenay, B.C., for affordability and medical reasons.
“I was telling the kids, ‘It’s going to be a great adventure. We’re going to get daddy the help he needs,'” Joeline said.
The Deans scouted the market and settled on a home in the Alberta Avenue area, north of downtown. Their realtor even drove by the front of the home before the big move to check if everything was OK, and from the sidewalk, everything seemed fine. The realtor did not check around back.
The Deans arrived in the city Friday following a two-day road trip to find a notice from Edmonton Fire Rescue Services on their front door.
“We’re like, ‘Well, no one told us about fire damage. Is it a little damage or a lot of damage?’ We go in and it’s a lot of damage,” said Joeline.
“The kitchen is gone. There’s water damage in the bathroom because a pipe burst. What was supposed to be our son’s bedroom is gone.”
EFRS said it was called to extinguish a fire at the same property on Nov. 11. An investigation found it started in a shed behind the home and spread.
In a statement to Global News, a spokesperson for EFRS said it “was unable to track down the owners of the home as they were not yet listed in the system.”
With their home in unlivable condition, the Deans checked their kids and pets into a hotel while they figure out what to do next. Their hope is to find a place to rent while their insurance company decides whether the house needs to be repaired or rebuilt.
“(We need a place) big enough that we can get our animals into proper homes so they’re not living on top of each other,” said Joeline.
“(And so we’re) not eating out all the time,” Steven remarked.
Steven, 41, said he has to watch how much sodium he ingests because of his heart condition and pacemaker.
“That’s why we moved here because B.C. flat out told me they couldn’t help me with my heart condition,” he said.
The Deans said they have been comforted by community outreach since Friday, but they can’t help but feel guilty. They promised their kids an adventure, but this one has been no fun.
“I’m just hoping something hugely positive will come from all of it,” Steven said.