The Nanoose Volunteer Fire Department has set up a trust account at a credit union to help the woman whose car fell into a road washout late last month.
Karena Donnelly was driving home Jan. 29 when her car drove into a mudslide on Rumming Road near the Nanoose Bay/Lanztville border.
Arrowsmith Search and Rescue’s Nick Rivers performed the rope rescue and Nanaimo Search and Rescue, Nanoose and Lantzville fire departments were also on scene assisting. Rivers said the vehicle was upside down and all the windows had been blasted out on impact.
“For somebody to go down into that, you’re taking your life into your hands,” Nanoose fire chief Doug Penny said of Rivers.
A few days after the rescue, Penny offered to take the vehicle and bring it to the fire hall to clean it up. The vehicle, he said, was in pretty bad shape when he received it.
“It was crunched up. It was pretty severely beaten up,” Penny said.
He and training officer Denis Holme brought the vehicle back to the fire hall and cleaned it out.
“It was full of sand,” said Penny, adding he and Holme washed all the sand out of the vehicle and shipped the remaining belongings back to Donnelly.
According to a Facebook post, the fire department did recover some items of sentimental value, but “unfortunately we did not locate any of her ID, clothing, wallet or rent money.”
The post also says that contractors on site are keeping an eye out for any of Donnelly’s other belongings they can find, but “it’s not looking too promising.”
Penny said he has spoken with Donnelly about the experience, adding Donnelly is dealing with post-traumatic stress since the event.
“This was quite a traumatic event that she just went through,” Penny said.
In addition to a community GoFundMe page, the Nanoose fire department has set up an account for Donnelly at the Coastal Community Credit Union.
“In an effort to help relieve at least some of the financial stress, we have set up a trust account at Coastal Community Credit Union, and you can go to any CCCU branch and make a contribution to the ‘Trust for Karena L Donnelly,’” the post reads.
“This is not to undermine the fantastic efforts of those who have set up donation jars locally, but to work with them and broaden the playing field so that those further away can also contribute.”