After all her time spent helping the community with her volunteer work, Roseanne George said she’s seeing that goodwill coming back to her.
And it’s coming at a moment where that help is sorely needed for George, a familiar face who’s been helping out at Salvation Army dinners in Totem Hall.
“Usually it’s me giving and helping others, and, all of a sudden, it’s to be having it reversed back and looking at, ‘Oh my God,’ it’s me. It’s us,” said George.
“That’s a different feeling.”
George, along with her husband, Earl, lost their home in a fire early Thursday morning.
A GoFundMe campaign named the George and Nahanee Fund has been set up to help her family and the family of her adult daughter, Sasha Nahanee, raise funds.
Everyone got out safe, but they have been left with little or nothing going forward.
A log house, a carriage home and three vehicles were completely destroyed. Three more vehicles have incurred substantial heat damage.
The fire occurred on Nov. 26 at around 3:45 a.m. at the end of Axen Road in the Wiwk’em (Waiwakum) Reserve in Brackendale.
George said it all began when she heard someone screaming and shouting.
At first, she thought it was just someone acting out, but the continuous noise prompted her to get up.
“And my husband comes out of the front...part of the house, the other end of the house, because he said he heard, ‘Pop, pop, pop.’ You know, a popping sound. He looked up on the loft. There was fire dripping down already, and then we looked out the back, the kitchen window above the loft, and I believe that’s where the gas lining is.”
That’s when George said she heard the blasts.
“It sounded even louder than a bear banger,” she said.
She ran out of the house, while screaming for everyone to leave.
“Didn’t even have time to grab the keys,” said George.
“I ran out, I didn’t even have shoes on...I was out there for a half hour or more with no shoes. And I didn’t even realize it. You’re [in] such shock.”
She likened it to living through a nightmare.
“Please wake me up,” she recalled.
The neighbours rallied, and got her a chair, food, a blanket and coffee, she said.
The families are now staying in the Executive Suites and are waiting for social services to tell them what the next steps are. George said she’s concerned with finding a place to live in a town where rent is high and vacancy is low.
Everyone is still in a state of shock, she said.
“We’re here all last night trying to talk and we just look at each other and nod our heads, like ‘Yeah, that really happened.’” George said.
In the meantime, fundraisers are hoping to give the families money that can help ease the burden.
As of noon on Nov. 27, the GoFundMe campaign has raised roughly $2,000.
Donors can contribute here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/george-amp-nahanee-fund.
“I just want to thank the Creator that we’re all safe,” said George.
“You don’t realize what you need until you don’t have it all.”