A gofundme account has been set up at gofundme.com/help-the-silanohandley-family to support Sarah Silano and children Hannah and Noah Handley

Mother, children homeless after Malakwa residential fire

Support effort underway to help family as they look for a new home to rent.

A residential fire has left a Malakwa family in need of a place to live.

Sarah Silano and children Hannah and Noah Handley are safe and currently staying with extended family after the Malakwa home they’d been renting was damaged in a fire Sunday night.

Sarah’s sister, Stephanie Silano says Sarah is under an “incredible amount of stress,” but she and the children are grateful for the community support they’ve received.

Malakwa Fire Chief Joanne Held said the fire call was received around 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 4. Firefighters were on the scene in 10 minutes, and were able to contain the blaze largely to a enclosed back porch, “with a slight extension into the wall, which led to the upstairs bedroom and the back of the kitchen.”

“There was some smoke and water damage in the house, and we had to rip up a little bit of floor upstairs,” said Held.

The Sicamous fire department was brought in for mutual aid, though Held said the majority of the blaze was knocked down within half-an-hour.

Held said Sarah had been enjoying an evening to herself (her children were with their grandparents for the night), when she heard some unusual sounds and decided to investigate. When she discovered the fire, Sarah grabbed her pets, got into her car and drove to the end of the driveway before dialling 911.

Sarah has been told it likely won’t be until April before it is back in habitable condition. Until then, Stephanie said Sarah and family are looking for a home to rent.

A GoFundMe account set up by Stephanie notes there was extensive smoke and water damage to the Silano/Handley family’s belongings.

“Unfortunately, they did not have rental insurance to replace these things,” writes Stephanie on the public fundraising website. “This is a terrible way to end a year that has already been hard for them. Any donations would be greatly appreciated to help get them back on their feet, and to help cover costs until they are able to return home.”

As of Wednesday, Dec. 7, the gofundme page at gofundme.com/help-the-silanohandley-family was already more than three-quarters of the way to the $4,000 goal.

Parkview Elementary is also looking after their own (both Hannah and Noah are students there). On Friday, Dec. 9, the school is holding a pizza fundraiser, with proceeds to the family.