An electrical fire caused damage to the inside of this Holly Crescent home in Ucluelet over the holidays. A family of three was displaced as a result. (Photo Courtney Johnson)

Electrical fire displaces Ucluelet family over holidays

Community steps up with generous donations to revive Christmas spirit.

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.

Christmas holidayfireHousingucluelet

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Ucluelet fire crew extinguishes residential blaze

Ucluelet’s fire chief is praising his crew for making short work of a residential blaze on Tuesday.

DFO reports unusually high whale mortalities in 2020

“It’s so important to have all these eyes and ears in the community reporting these deaths.”

Tofino housing project criticized at public hearing

Town’s council hosts first public hearing since start of COVID-19 pandemic.

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Most Read