Volunteers help Connor family rebuild their home

Firefighters, police officers and others are helping an elderly Abbotsford couple whose house was destroyed by fire on Nov. 11.

Bill Connor and son John (second from right) were on hand on Wednesday while volunteers



The Connor family’s property on Downes Road in Abbotsford was a flurry of activity on Wednesday morning.

Outside, Abbotsford Police Const. Paul Walker was operating an excavator to clear the site of garbage and move around old cars that would later be taken to the scrapyard.

His fellow officers and other volunteers were manually cleaning up the property, moving items into the dumpster in the front yard.

Inside the home, destroyed by a chimney fire on Nov. 11, members of Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service were clearing out the rubble to prepare the home for rebuilding.

In all, more than 20 police officers, firefighters and members of the public gathered at the site for the first day of a massive volunteer effort that will see Ann and Bill Connor in a new home before Christmas.

The couple, both in their 80s, had no insurance when their home was destroyed. Bill has lived on the property since he was two years old.

Everything required to rebuild their home – including building supplies, appliances, furniture, cabinets, sinks and all the labour – has been donated.

Last weekend, the Abbotsford Firefighters Charitable Society and the Abbotsford Police Union announced they would co-ordinate all the offers that were pouring in from the community and beyond.

Sgt. Judy Dizy and her husband, firefighter Craig Bird, agreed to head the efforts, and both were on site on Wednesday.

Bird said that within 72 hours of the two organizations announcing their plans to help the Connors, donations had come in to cover all that was needed.

“Everything has been taken care of. We don’t need anything else. This is truly a community effort,” he said.

Bird said the rebuild will be completed without touching the trust fund that friends set up for the Connors.

Dizy said she has been moved by the generosity.

“It’s very emotional … The fact that the community can always come together and always support each other – what more can you ask for?”

Numerous police officers and firefighters are skilled tradespeople and are volunteering their time off work to assist with things such as electrical work, plumbing and drywalling.

Among them are Const. Walker and Const. Phil Sawatsky. Both were on site Wednesday, after having finished a night shift with the Abbotsford Police Department.

“Nobody wishes this on anybody,” Walker said of the fire and why he wanted to help. “I wouldn’t want my parents to go through this.”

Bill Connor and his son John were also at the scene, and said they were touched and grateful that people would do so much for them.

“I really appreciate it … It’s not easy at my age (to go through such trauma),” Bill said.

The shell of the home and the foundation will remain, and volunteers are expected to start the rebuilding process on Friday. They are intent on completing the project before Christmas.

Dizy said the rebuild will include one crucial component – the chimney insert that was previously missing from the home because the Connors couldn’t afford it, preventing them from getting insurance.

Donation inquiries can be made by calling Dizy at 604-835-1316. Donations to the trust fund can be made at any branch of TD Canada Trust to account number 9035-6371813.

 

Just Posted

Langley single mom given aid to achieve what’s in her heart

Each year Langley Soroptimists give grants to local mothers going back to school

VIDEO: Highway One to be widened east to 264th Street in Langley

The $235 million project includes upgrades to overpasses and a rail bridge

Three Langley communities included in 30 kilometre Canada Day parade route

The expanded parade is being organized by a sub-committee of the Aldergrove Fair.

U.S. inn owner, charged with smuggling people into Canada, granted bail

Robert Joseph Boule ordered to turn away anyone indicating a plan to enter Canada illegally

Suspect stole lingerie in Langley heist

Langley RCMP is also looking for someone who bought $6,000 in goods with a stolen credit card

Canada privacy watchdog taking Facebook to court

If the court application is successful, it could lead to modest fines and an order for Facebook to revamp its privacy

One million recyclable bottles “lost” daily in B.C., foundation says

387 million beverage containers didn’t make it back into the province’s regulated deposit refund system in 2017

VIDEO: B.C.’s waving granny gets incredible send-off from school kids

Tinney Davidson has been waving at students on their way to school for over 11 years, but is moving in a month

Struggling B.C. adoption agency elects new board that intends to keep it open

The previous board announced that Choices would close May 31

Woman, 60, charged in connection to thefts at YVR

RCMP believe the foreign national is part of a larger organized theft group

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Worst 10 bus routes in Metro Vancouver for rider complaints

TransLink releases list, with Route 319 at the top

Mayors, First Nations chiefs, urge ‘immediate action’ on new Massey crossing

Joint letter asks province to move up timeline, consider only eight-lane tunnel options

Bus driver assault in Vancouver once again raises safety concerns

A 49-year-old Surrey man was released on a promise to appear in court. No charge has been laid

Most Read