Bill and Christina Evanow are simply grateful that their family escaped serious injury or death after a suspicious fire tore through their house early Thursday morning.

Family sticking together after ‘suspicious’ Maple Ridge fire

Looking for a new house to live in; community helping.

As she sits at the Quality Inn, worried and frazzled, Christina Evanow has just one wish.

“I just want to keep the family together,” says Evanow, who lost her home in a fire last week.

The family of six had rented a house at the corner of 223rd Street and 119th Avenue for the past eight years.

At 5:33 a.m., Nov. 13, her youngest son Daniel woke up to the sound of crackling and what he thinks was an explosion.

As he rubbed his eyes, he could see a red glow through a pair of windows at the top of the staircase.

He yelled to wake up his sleeping siblings, Jessica and Matt. He grabbed the family’s zebra finches, Felix and Phoenix, then ran downstairs.

“He’s the hero,” says his mom, as the Grade 8 student walks into the hotel room after school.

Evanow, her husband Bill and three sons – Matt, Liam and Daniel – are living in the Quality Inn with their birds and fish, Tumbles. Their daughter Jessica, 20, is staying with her boyfriend.

Their hotel stay has been extended to Nov. 26. Meanwhile, the Evanows are struggling to find a house that will fit all six of them.

The fire that ravaged the 70-year-old farm house, one the first two original homes in downtown Maple Ridge, destroyed everything the Evanows owned.

“They are going to need everything to re-establish themselves and restart,” said Pete Evanow, Bill’s brother, who is helping the family house hunt and field phone calls about donations.

“We are willing to accept anything. It’s such a substantial loss.”

The Evanows have been overwhelmed by the support they’ve received thus far.

Liam, a standout football player at Samuel Robertson Technical secondary, got his size 17 shoes.

His football team held a surprise birthday party for him at the hotel last week. Strangers have been dropping by the hotel with food and donations, and the Quality Inn is helping store them.

Jessica, who is studying fashion design at the University of the Fraser Valley, lost her modeling portfolio and all the possessions she’d worked hard to purchase with her own money. A fridge, new bed, mattress, microwave and expensive text books were torched as flames raced up the side of the house to her bedroom on the second floor. She was getting ready to move out on her own.

Christina Evanow, meanwhile, is trying to salvage what she can from the house and be a pillar of support. Her husband Bill has returned to work as a caterer.

Meanwhile, Ridge Meadows RCMP continue to investigate the fire, one of three blazes set within the span of an hour in the downtown core on Nov. 13.

Officers have canvassed the neighbourhood for witnesses and are checking surveillance footage, but have yet to identify any suspects.

To donate

Donations to the Evanow family can be made at any TD Canada Trust Bank (Branch: 9640 Account No.: 6645289) or via Pay Pal to

• If you have household items or other enquiries about donations, email

Just Posted

Junior hockey back, as Flames host exhibition

Ice Hawks visit Maple Ridge on Aug. 23

Resident asks Maple Ridge council to skip UBCM reception

Doesn’t want politicians to attend China-sponsored event

The scenic route through Maple Ridge

Winding Fern Crescent offers relaxing views

Bulldogs defeat Ridge Meadows Royals

Exhibition game proved to be challenging for both teams

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has little expectations of a unified front from the leaders

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

UPDATE: Crown cross-examines B.C. father accused of killing daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Most Read