Sisters Eva and Janice Lindgren have had a rough couple of years.
Their home and belongings were destroyed in an apartment fire at 22300 block of Dewdney Trunk Road in Maple Ridge on Dec. 14 - but that wasn't even their first brush with tragedy.
They also lost another home about a year and half ago.
Eva, 50, and Jan, 54, have lived together since their mother died two years ago. Jan suffered from scarlet fever as a five year old and as a result of the fever suffers from epilepsy and diminished mental capacity.
"When my grandma died my mom took over looking after her sister," said Eva's daughter Nicole Adams.
It was about 9: 30 p.m. when a unit on the same floor as their third-storey one-bedroom apartment caught fire.
"My son said 'no mom, this is real, you've got to get up and out," recalled Eva.
She escaped with only her underwear, T-shirt, and a coat.
"I was standing in the pouring rain in my barefeet," Eva said.
Jan was scared, and repeated the same thing over and over - "Don't worry, I'm used to this."
"I just wanted to get out of there. I didn't want to get burned up," said Jan.
The community is starting to rally around the victims of the fire.
Greg Stokes, the manager of Eyetopia Optometry on Dewdney Trunk Road said he was broken-hearted when he read about Eva and Jan in The TIMES and has offered the sisters to come into Eyetopia and pick out their new glasses at no charge.
"It broke my heart to read that the first thing out of her mouth was that they needed to replace their glasses," said Stokes.
"We are their neighbours. It's destiny. It couldn't be more like the universe is speaking out to us."
The Canadian Red Cross has also stepped in to help the victims of the fire.
It is collecting donations to help support the 19 people who were impacted by the fire.
"The phone has been ringing off the hook at municipal hall with folks asking how they can help," said Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin.
"Our district emergency social services team moved quickly to offer short-term support for the families affected by the fire. We encourage folks who'd like to help to contact the Red Cross who are coordinating longer-term assistance to help the families whose lives have been disrupted by this fire," he added.
"It sucks that this happened this time of year, but everything happens for a reason. I'm trying to stay positive," said Nicole, who added that she believes her mother suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, but refuses to trust anyone to talk about it.
"I just want a roof over my head and a warm blanket," Eva said.
Financial donations can be made by calling 604-7096600 or mailing a cheque to the Lower Mainland Red Cross at 3400 Lake City Way, Burnaby, B.C., V5A 4Y2.
People can make cheques payable to "The Canadian Red Cross" and earmark it to "B.C. Response Fund-Maple Ridge Fire."
@ Copyright 2013