The new year got off to a bad start for a Gimli widower and his two children after a cooking fire caused extensive damage to their rental home and sent two of them to hospital.
Greg Welch, 41, and his son, Jordan, 18, were taken to the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg after the fire broke out at about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. While they are recovering, friends, family and strangers are trying to help them start over.
"They’ve had a tough go of it," Ian Tarnowski, Welch’s brother-in-law, said in an interview. Tarnowski’s sister, Welch’s wife, died three years ago, Tarnowski said. She was diagnosed with cancer and died one month later.
Greg is now in the intensive care unit with burns to his shoulder and a fracture in his neck, said Tarnowski. Jordan is in critical condition also at Health Science Center with burns to more than 50 per cent of his body, he said. Jayda, 12, was not hospitalized but is scratched and bruised and resting at her grandparents home, he said.
Now they’ve lost their home and belongings, said Tarnowski. He said a fund is being set up at CIBC for the Welch family.
"We are trying to give this family a hand up when they need it the most," Tarnowski said in a prepared statement.
"We are looking for donations of any kind - big or small - from cash donations to gently used clothing to furniture or anything you can think of that you would need to start a life over again from scratch. When you have nothing every little bit counts."
Cash donations can be made to the Gimli CIBC branch in care of The Welch Family.
The Manitoba Office of the Fire Commissioner was contacted and attended the scene. Damage estimates were not available Wednesday, police said. The residence sustained extensive damages, police said.