Mike Nielson is grateful that his family and neighbours are safe after fire destroyed the back half of his 221st Street rental home Wednesday morning.
"We were in the backyard with the dogs just 30 minutes before any of this happened. I can't figure it out. I don't know what happened," Nielson said.
Nielson explained that he and his two-year-old son Loki were in the bathtub when he thought he smelled smoke.
"It alarmed me, so I threw on my shorts and went downstairs to see, and that is when I realized people were pounding on the doors yelling 'fire'," he said.
"I came out to the back deck and saw the gentleman who was trying to alert us," Nielson recalled. "I grabbed the hose, but as I turned on the water I knew it wouldn't help, so I ran back in and grabbed my daughter and son."
Nielson was renting the south side of the three-storey duplex and lived there with his wife Joan, son Loki, stepdaughter Tegan Campbell, and stepson Matthew Campbell. Father and son Kaleb and Andrew Devlin lived on the lower level. Andrew is Joan's brother.
The extended family moved into their side of the duplex at Christmas and did not have rental insurance.
They are trying to figure out a plan. They stayed at the Quality Inn until Saturday.
"Our short-term plan is to stay at my wife's mom's, but we can't stay there too long, because we'd be tripled-stacked," Nielson explained.
But in the meantime, Nielson is relieved they were able to salvage their photos and momentos from the living room as the fire didn't reach the front of the house.
"We got out all right, and that's all that really matters," he said.
Anyone interested in helping the family can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 778-926-2195.