Storm Saunders had no idea, when alerted to a house fire in his community, it was his own home that was ablaze.
Saunders is a volunteer firefighter in Natuashish.
He and his girlfriend Jennifer Tshakapesh have four children aged eight years to five months. They had been house sitting for a friend when the fire broke out around 2:30 a.m. on Boxing Day.
“My girlfriend woke me up and told me there was a house fire. I started calling on the walkie-talkie, to the fire chief and volunteers. I didn’t know whose house it was until I got there. It was our place,” Saunders said during a phone interview on Jan. 6.
The family lost their home and possessions, as well as Saunders’s truck that was parked near the house.
While the loss is devastating, Saunders said, he and his girlfriend were lucky to have brought some things with them, including some of the children’s clothes, when they went to their friends to house sit. They knew they would be at their friend’s home for several weeks, he said.
“I’m pretty grateful that a buddy of mine asked me to look after his house,” Saunders said.
At the time of the phone interview, the couple was still housesitting. However, Saunders was getting ready to move his family into a temporary home until a more permanent solution was found.
He is reaching out to the community to help him get some of the necessities the family needs such as beds, blankets, sheets, kitchen appliances, a table and chairs, pots and pans and other household items.
In a statement about the fire, the RCMP confirmed that the blaze broke out on Dec. 26.
“No one was in the home at the time of the incident. The house and a vehicle sustained significant damage. While the investigation is continuing, there is nothing at this time to indicate any criminal activity in relation to the fire,” the statement read.
Anyone with items to donate to the family can contact Saunders via Facebook (Jason Hadley Saunders).