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This article was published 21/12/2018 (325 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Harris family, of Oak Bluff, lost their rented house and all their possessions in an early morning fire on Dec. 20 that started in the garage.
Gerald Harris spoke to media on Dec. 21. Although he has burns on both hands, he is relieved that all eight people in the house made it out safely.
"We had just moved in," Gerald said. "We lost everything. I even lost my wallet."
He and wife Christina, daughter Mikayla, 18 and Meagan, 14, family friend Mariana Rempel, and in-laws Linda and Gary Kruger and brother-in-law Travis Kruger were all in the house when the fire broke out. The Krugers had arrived from northwestern Ontario the day before for a holiday visit. The Harris’ third daughter Madison, 17, wasn’t at home.
Linda said she had brought family heirlooms with her to give out to her grand-daughters, but what she’s most concerned about is her service dog, Ellie, a long-haired chihuahua that has been missing since the fire.
Linda said the dog is wearing a collar with a pink dog bone. She asks anyone who sees Ellie to contact her at 807-632-2258.
The Harris’ two cats were killed in the fire.
"It was horrible to watch the house burn down," Christina said. "We don’t have anything."
"We were in our pyjamas," Gerald said.
The family had only moved into the Oak Bluff house four months ago and had no tenants’ insurance.
"We were going to do that next month," Gerald said.
They are now staying with fellow members of Springs Church.
Travis was the only person taken from the scene by ambulance, and he commends the first responders for their service.
Gerald also said the Macdonald volunteer fire department and chief Mike Siemens were very helpful.
"The fire department was excellent when they got there."
The cause of the fire is still being investigated.
A GoFundMe campaign has started to help the Harris family at https://www.gofundme.com/6l2l7yo
Community journalist — The Headliner
Andrea Geary is the community journalist for The Headliner. Email her at email@example.com Call her at 204-697-7124