Ucluelet family Carly Opheim and her two children Mikko, 10, and Mya, 13, were forced to evacuate their Holly Crescent home on Dec. 23 after a power surge caused an electrical fire in the kitchen.
Since the incident, Opheim said they are couch surfing and still without a home. Anyone that knows of a long-term living arrangement is encouraged to contact her close friend Courtney Johnson at 250-266-2077 or stop by Image West Gallery.
“Carly loves it here. We need to find a way for her to stay,” said Johnson.
A neighbour extinguished the flames, according to Johnson, and all the kids’ Christmas presents were burnt. The dog that was inside was saved and luckily the kids were out at the time, Johnson notes.
“She didn’t want to tell anyone,” said Johnson. “She’s a shy and private person that doesn’t like to bother anyone.”
When Johnson found out about the fire, she made some calls to the mayor and her friends on council. She started a group chat on Facebook to find out how the Opheim family could be helped.
“The Ucluelet Co-op donated a generous credit. Bronwyn cleaned the inside of the house. The Rotary Club donated gifts. Cris Martin from the Food Bank pitched in. Within 12-hours, it was done,” said Johnson.
“I wanted the children to see that they are loved by the people in this community,” she said.
For Opheim, the emotional toll that comes from being displaced from her home is still very raw. She said it’s hard for her to talk about. She sent the Westerly News a few words of thanks to the community for trying to save their Christmas.
“It made me feel like my community was with me all the way. Coming to my friend’s house with Christmas all set up was extremely heartwarming. It was the first time I saw smiles on my babies faces. Made my heart warm,” Opheim said via Facebook messenger.
The community rallied to revive the Christmas spirit for the Opheim family after an electrical fire displaced them from their home.