Fire forces family from home

Fire forces family from home
By Susan Gamble
Brantford Expositor
Link to article: Fire forces family from home

Shane Wilson and Kendra Halliday, with their children, Hailey (left) and Jace, both six, and three-year-old Tyler are staying in a Brantford motel after being displaced from their home by a fire last week. (Brian Thompson/The Expositor)

A family of five is crammed into a motel room with their pets after a small kitchen fire has effectively booted them from their Grey Street townhouse.

Shane Wilson, Kendra Halliday and their young children, a girl and boy, both aged six, and a three-year-old boy, were ordered out of their rented home on Jan. 5 after a cooking fire got out of control.

"The crew was able to contain the fire to the kitchen," said Deputy Fire Chief Todd Binkley about the noon-time fire at 502 Grey St.

"It was knocked down within minutes."

Firefighters remained on the scene for several hours and ventilated the home, which had no structural damage. Binkley had no damage estimate but said the fire is under investigation by the chief fire prevention officer.

Because the kitchen was rendered unusable and soot and smoke damaged the rest of the home, the fire department estimated the place could be unlivable for several months.

Wilson and Halliday are trying to find new accommodations that will hold the family and their two dogs and two cats.

"We've been working all day to try and find something that will work for our family," Halliday said Tuesday. "There's not much available and the prices are crazy. Plus, the fact we have pets scares a lot of landlords."

The family is finding support from people who have reached out through social media to help.

Dianne Bell, who doesn't know Wilson or Halliday, urged her Facebook friends to gather donations of clothing, toys and gift cards to help the family.

"It makes me very sad to see things like this happening to anyone at this time of year," Bell said Tuesday.

"Even though the fire was small, the damage from the smoke destroyed things and that soot is just toxic. People need to understand it's a terrible loss and we need to pull together as a community to help get them resettled."

On Tuesday, Bell delivered to the family donations of cash, a food gift card, toys, clothes and a new phone.

"The kids were screaming with joy when they saw the toys," said Bell.

Halliday said she is amazed by the support.

"It's good that people want to help but it's very overwhelming for me. We're pretty independent and don't feel very comfortable in this situation. There are people on social media who think we must be over-exaggerating things for financial gain."

The family likely will need new mattresses and linens and, even when she tried to take a bag of dog food with her from the house, a firefighter advised against it, saying it was likely ruined.

The six-year-old girl had just celebrated her birthday and lost her gifts due to smoke damage.

The family said it is looking to rent a three-bedroom home that allows pets. They can be reached at 519-771-0266.

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