Oak Bay firefighters step up to help Saanich family ousted by fire

Quick collection earned $1,360 for Tanya Burt, Jason Yankowy and their two kids

Oak Bay firefighters have generously donated $1,360 and approximately four-and-a-half pickup truck loads of cans and bottles for a Saanich family that recently lost everything in a house fire.

Tanya Burt and Jason Yankowy’s rented home on Obed Avenue caught fire on Dec. 8, leaving the couple, their nine-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son with no home.

Oak Bay firefighter Doug Trumble received an email from a mutual friend, seeking donations of cans and bottles to help raise money for the family. Trumble, an 11-year member of the fire department, forwarded that email to his firefighting coworkers who opened their wallets and recycling bins.

“We’ve seen the devastation of a house fire,” said Trumble, adding he does not know the family, just the neighbour who organized the fundraiser. “It obviously touched us. We were not going to stand by after someone has lost everything and not do anything.”

The family moved from Yellowknife, N.W.T. in November 2012 when Burt and Yankowy bought a coffee shop in Bastion Square. The business went under and closed in October.

The source of the fire has not been determined, but it caused $200,000 in structural damage to the home.

Neighbour Jessica Peterson, had put a call out on Facebook to help the family, raising money and organizing a bottle drive to help them last Saturday, Dec. 14.

– With files from Edward Hill