Fire leaves large family homeless

Relatives and friends of Maple Ridge family will be hosting a barbecue fundraiser

A family of 11 is now staying at the Quality Inn after a house fire on Friday.

A Maple Ridge family of 11 was burned out of their home on Friday, and this weekend relatives and friends will be hosting a barbecue fundraiser for them.

Rick and Melinda McLeod, including their children and grandchildren, had 11 people living at their home on Greenwell Street, until a fire on Friday at noon.

“They all got out in time, with the clothes on their backs,” said April Lucarino, a friend.

Assistant fire chief Howard Exner said the fire started in the basement, and was able to grow considerably before detected. The only smoke detector was located in an upstairs hallway, near bedrooms.

Exner said the fire burned a hole through the floor, and through a closed door and up into the cathedral entrance of the house, causing significant heat and smoke damage upstairs, before it could be contained.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, but is not considered suspicious, according to RCMP.

“There was extensive damage,” Exner added. “It was a pretty devastating fire for the family, and it’s a large family.”

Emergency social services initially found the family a place in Mission, but on Monday they moved to the Quality Inn in Maple Ridge, with assistance from the Red Cross.

The home was not insured, and the family is still trying to determine what, if any, of their belongings can be salvaged.

A fundraising barbecue for the family will take place this Saturday, at 12255 Greenwell St., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., when donations will be gathered.

Furniture may be sought at a future date, said Lucarino.

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