A Princeton, B.C., home was destroyed for the second time in a year on Tuesday morning.
A fire broke out around 11:30 a.m. One person and a cat, who were home at the time, made it out safely, but the home sustained extensive damage.
“As we were coming around the corner by the brown bridge, you could see all the smoke and I just kept thinking, please don’t be my house, please don’t be my house. When I pulled up around the corner, you could see the fire trucks and that it was my house,” said homeowner Candice Quinnell, who was renting the home out to three tenants at the time of the fire.
“I keep getting these waves of emotions, it’s like sometimes you’re in shock because you can’t actually believe it’s happening and then, you know, there were lots of tears.”
The fire comes nearly exactly a year after the home was destroyed by last November’s atmospheric river event.
“It came overtop the dike on Riverside Ave., and came down through the streets – my house actually formed a dike for everybody on that side of me and directed the water down this way,” said Quinnell.
“So my house took the brunt of it, it was about halfway up the windows in the living room.”
After rebuilding her home from the flood, she decided not to move back to the house.
“I have two little boys, five and seven, and they were four and six at the time of the flood. It was our family home and to just lose everything, it just made me uncomfortable thinking about coming back home and it just ended up not being my home after that,” she said.
“We ended up moving down the road from my parents up high.”
Princeton’s Fire Captain, Curtis Bush, was one of the first on scene and also one of the contractors who helped rebuild Quinnell’s flood-ravaged home.
“The call came in and I heard the address, straight away and I knew whose house it was. And the connections, so emotions were high right from the start,” said Bush.
“It was heartbreaking. Yeah, it was just all my work plus she’s such a good friend, too. Yeah, it was hard.”
The cause of the fire is unknown at this time but an investigation is underway.
However, Quinnell says the home likely can’t be saved and is waiting to hear from her insurance company to see what steps can be taken.
“I just hope that everything pans out better with insurance. I know a lot of people were shocked when they found out that they had flood insurance but it was capped at $10,000. So that was a hard hit,” added Quinnell.
“So I’m just hoping that maybe my insurance company comes through a little bit better this time.”
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe campaign has been launched aiming to raise $3,000 for the fire victims. And as of Thursday morning, already $2,000 of that goal had been raised.
“Tierra, Jack, and Rocky, they lost everything. It’s not a very large home, only like 860 square feet, so even where the flames didn’t touch, their clothes are ruined, their bedding, and the fire had traveled up into the attic, so they just had to keep dousing it, so it’s the water damage alone combined with the smoke is super detrimental,” said Quinnell.
“It’s Christmas time and you know to lose everything at Christmas time is a hard, hard thing.”