In the early morning of October 21, 2017, a Crawford Bay residence and studio burned to the ground, along with all supplies and equipment inside and a nearby vehicle.

The rental property and studio, a two-story unit, belonged to Crawford Bay’s Jacqueline Wedge who lives in the neighbouring house with her two children.

At 2:05am, Wedge woke to a sound and light outside her home and looked out her window to see flames shooting from her rental house just 20 feet from her own home. Fortunately, her renter, Tiffany Lahey, was not at home at the time of the fire and no human lives were lost or seriously injured in the fire, although sadly the renter’s cat did perish.

Wedge states that the value of potting (she is a potter and artist by trade) and building, garden, craft, paint and other supplies in the lower level studio is substantial and much of it is irreplaceable.

Lahey, who lived upstairs, has lost everything she owns but the clothes on her back and her vehicle.

Wedge’s vehicle caught fire and burned out in the blaze as well. Within a day of the fire, a generous resident had gotten a replacement vehicle for her to use as long as necessary. The family and neighbours were present to help move things further away from the blaze and do what they could to contain it, but mostly they had to just watch it burn.

Wedge’s house stands, but has seen damage due to the high heat. Most of the windows on the east facing side of her house are cracked or broken and will need replacement.

Wedge says, “The apartment and studio are gone. That means no more rental income. Not to mention, all my clay, glazes, paints, bisqueware & glazed pieces, finished pottery, hand tools, hot water tank, hoses, water pump, gardening/electrical/plumbing supplies for the property, a small kiln, solid wood doors, clothes dryer, roofing materials that I got for the roof and house projects… all gone. All of the items upstairs, gone too… I raised my children in that house.”

Wedge stated that this is not a fully comprehensive list of the items and materials lost (not to mention the actual value of the building itself), but she estimates that just the possessions in the building would be valued at well over $40,000.

There is no official word on the cause of the fire. Community residents are gathering to help out through an active Facebook chat group and are creating a plan for a meeting to help out the family and tenant, a work bee to fix up the house and clean up the burned out studio/apartment, and figure places to take donations of all kinds.

There is an account at the Crawford Bay Store where people can make deposits to help the family with food costs and a GoFundMe (for both the family and Lahey – who is now out of a home) is in the works as well as a possible account at the CU Watch for more information posted around town.

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