With her baby daughter in her arms, on Tuesday Shelby Phipps could barely look back at the burned out remains of the Valleyview Road home where she was born and raised.
This Christmas is her, and partner Riley Cleveland’s, first with baby Isla who turns four months old on Friday.
But right now all they want is somewhere to live, try and cope and come to terms with Saturday’s blaze which destroyed the mobile home where they were staying temporarily with her father.
“This is devastating, everything I had and the baby stuff is all gone,” said Phipps standing outside the security tape surrounding the skeletal remains of the structure. “I really don’t know what we’re going to do, we’re staying at his (Cleveland’s) moms right now, I just don’t know, my phone’s going off the rails, talking to emergency services, the Red Cross and they’re trying to figure stuff out for me because I just don’t know what to do.”
Penticton Fire Rescue were dispatched to the call just after 7 p.m. that night and when they arrived the mobile home was fully engulfed with flames shooting high into the sky.
According to Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth a man, who Phipps said was her father, was inside the residence but he managed to escape after being awakened by a neighbour.
“Riley and I were at a Christmas party and about 8:30 p.m. my grandma (who lives next door) called and said I better come home, not home but to her house right there,” said Phipps motioning to the house nearby. “Then we saw all the police cars and fire trucks. I gave a statement and was able to walk up close to it, but I could only go so far obviously because it was still on fire.
“I only stayed for about 45 minutes because I had my baby.”
In total, 30 firefighters were eventually dispatched to the scene and had to return just after 1 a.m. Sunday when several hot spots flared up.
At this point no cause has been determined and RCMP and the fire department are continuing to investigate.
According to Phipps, who said all of her mother’s belongings were also lost, they did not have any content insurance and she’s not sure if her grandparents’, who own the property, insurance will cover her.
“I don’t know how it’s going to work out but I don’t think it’s going to help us,” she said. “People have been really generous, they’ve given us baby stuff and clothes and toys. Everybody has been so great and super kind, but right now I need somewhere to live.”
They had been staying at the residence after leaving their previous apartment in August. Her brother Justin LeClerc is also in town helping out.
A GoFundMe page was set up by Samantha Bruder two days ago in hopes of raising $5,000 to help the young family get back on their feet. So far just over $2,000 has been donated.
Donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/valleyview-house-fire.