Family of 8 picking up pieces after Oak Bluff fire destroys home
Jason Gaidola, CTV Winnipeg
Published Monday, December 24, 2018 7:02PM CST
A family of eight has found a place to spend Christmas while picking up the pieces after losing their home in a fire.
Gerald and Christina Harris, their three daughters, and Christina’s mother, father and brother witnessed their rental property in Oak Bluff, Man., go up in flames and burn to the ground in the early morning of Dec. 20th.
“I can't imagine having this conversation with you, and talking about a funeral we'd have to go to for one of my kids or my extended family,” Gerald said.
The Harris family escaped the fire safely, though Gerald suffered burns.
Their two cats died during the fire and their service dog, Ellie, is missing.
The family was briefly separated after the fire, but now they’re reunited under one roof. Gerald’s friend, David Vandersteen, opened the door to his home to the Harris family.
“They couldn’t do anything about their home,” Vandersteen said.
On Christmas Day, the Harris and Vandersteen families will join together and celebrate.
“We’re all sleeping over and waking up in the morning, we’re going to have brunch and open up gifts,” Vandersteen said.
The Harris family has received donations for clothing, food, and personal household items.
Christina said many of the donations are from people she does not know.
“I’m just blown away,” she said.
“People I don’t even know were sending their condolences, ‘What can we send you? What do your daughters need?’
“It’s very humbling.”
The Harris’ will have a new home after Christmas. The family have found a temporary rental home in Winnipeg. They expect to move in before the new year.
Manitoba RCMP told CTV News that the fire was “accidental.” The RM of McDonald Fire Department has not released any specific information on the exact cause of the fire.