The public is being invited to help a single mother of two rebuild her life, after fire broke out in their Maple Ridge home Tuesday night.
The blaze started in an upstairs bedroom in one of the 48 units in Richmond Court in Maple Ridge at about 7: 30 p.m. on Tuesday, said Maple Ridge assistant fire chief Mark Smitton.
The bedroom was gutted by the flames and the rest of the home was damaged by smoke and water.
According to neighbours, the bedroom was fully engulfed by the time firefighters arrived.
"The flames were shooting six or seven feet at least out of the window," said neighbour Rodney Clough.
Another neighbour, Tina Delorme, said Loreen Birchmore lives in the unit with her two children, James, 17, who has cerebral palsy, and Hayley, four.
"Loreen was so devastated," Clough said. "She was so upset about losing her kids' stuff and Christmas presents."
"This is a perfect example of how working smoke alarms can save lives," said Smitton.
"In this instance, the smoke alarm alerted the mom and she was able to get everyone out safely," he explained, adding he wants to warn everyone to "test your smoke detector once a month and practise your escape plan."
Clough and Delorme hope people will step up to help Birchmore deal with the loss due to fire and water damage.
"She's a single mom. I've seen the track record of this town coming through when needed," said Delorme, grateful no one was injured in the blaze.
One neighbouring unit is vacant and the other did not sustain any dam-age. Richmond Court is next to Glenwood Elementary School and Lion's Park.
HOW TO HELP
Donation are being accepted at TD Canada Trust, account name Graham Arthur Laverty and Michael J Bygrove in Trust for Loreen M Birchmore, transit no. 91030, institution no. 004, and account no. 91036355183 To donate items contact Tina Delmore at 604-314-4891.