A online fundraiser has been set up to help a Nanaimo family get back on its feet following a recent fire. (GoFundMe image)

Gofundme created for north Nanaimo house fire victims

Community giving thousands of dollars to help get family back on its feet after fire on Ney Drive

Two families that had no insurance and lost virtually everything in a recent house fire a getting a hand up through online fundraisers.

Kayla Barsby, whose parents, sister and grandfather were forced out of their home on Ney Drive when fire broke out Friday, has set up a Gofundme to help them replace what they’ve lost. As of Tuesday, donations had topped the fundraiser’s $5,000 goal and donations continued to come in.

Barsby said her family took some convincing to agree to receiving donations.

“They were really, really reluctant to do it,” said Barsby, who now lives in Vancouver. “They’re the same people that, you know, they want to help people and then when it comes time for them to be helped they obviously need it, but they’re embarrassed to do it. It was something we sat down and talked about and they didn’t want to do it, but they knew they had to.”

Barsby said a friend of her sister’s was also living part-time in the house, as well. A couple also lived in the downstairs suite of the rental house. None of the occupants had insurance for their possessions.

The house was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived and will likely be a total loss.

“It’s one of those things where you say you’re going to get it and then you keep meaning to, you know?” she said. “They owned a house for years and then they sold it and just didn’t even really think about insurance.”

Barsby set the initial goal of the Gofundme at $5,000 recognizing that her family, who she said fled the burning house in their pyjamas, will have to replace everything from basic personal items and clothing to furniture. She recognizes $5,000 won’t cover replacing everything, so she plans to leave the fundraiser active for at least one month.

She said her parents are still in shock and trying decide what they’re next steps will be, figure out what they need and how long it will take to rebuild their lives.

“But, again, they’re really reluctant and they want to try and do as much as they can,” Barsby said. “They’re still working. Obviously my mom’s going to try and take a few days off, but they’re going to continue to try to work and they’re trying to do as much as they can themselves … they’re so surprised and overwhelmed at the support they’ve had.”

To learn more or donate, visit https://bit.ly/33jZzWx.

A second Gofundme, set up to help a couple who lived in the downstairs suite of the home, can be found at https://bit.ly/2VpwrKx.



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