GoFundMe set up for renters displaced by Abbotsford fire

Three roommates hadn’t been living in place a full month before fire tore through home

As she took a nap late Sunday afternoon, Amanda Uitto was awakened “out of a dead sleep” by a panicking friend.

According to a GoFundMe account set up for Uitto and two roommates, Levi Mclaughlin and Heather Maton, Uitto’s friend was “screaming and telling me that the house was on fire and we had to get out now.”

“I ran into the hallway and that’s when I saw the flames already bursting through the sliding glass door,” Uitto is quoted as saying in a statement on the GoFundMe page.

Related: Fire guts back of one Abbotsford house, damages three others

The fire in question scorched one house – reportedly the one lived in by Uitto and her roommates – and damaged three others after it sparked around 4 p.m. Sunday on Seal Way near Peardonville Road.

“I tried to find and grab all our pets, I got our dogs, and got out in the nick of time. Our two cats were nowhere to be seen and I couldn’t get to my gecko, Herman, as my room was already engulfed in flames,” Uitto said.

“I was in full panic mode, crying harder than I ever thought was possible. Hyperventilating so bad the firemen had to put me on oxygen to try to calm me down. I was able to get my dogs to my car and as the flames came closer I had to drive my vehicle out of the driveway.”

The three roommates hadn’t even been living in the Abbotsford residence for a month before the fire broke out. Langley resident Patti Parkinson, who set up the GoFundMe page, said the three did not have renter’s insurance.

“Because of moving expenses and furniture and all that kind of stuff, they had planned on getting it August 1,” said Parkinson, whose boyfriend’s children were two of the roommates at the house, along with a family friend.

Parkinson hopes to raise $15,000 for the three roommates, who she said lost just about everything in the fire, from furniture to most of their clothing.

“They have no place to stay. They’re all kind of staying here and there every night, and it’s hard to buy all new clothes,” Parkinson said. “They have to find another place to live as well, but they don’t have any furniture.”

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Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

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