After a devastating trailer fire that nearly took her life, Danielle Leblanc has lost everything she’s ever had.
On Thursday (Jan. 16) around Noon, a fire broke out in her home in Red Rock–Stoner and destroyed her trailer, her possessions and claimed the lives of two of her three dogs.
“She and her boyfriend were sleeping at the time and had just woken up shortly before and noticed cracking sounds,” said Nicholas Worden, owner of Interior Vape and Leblanc’s boss.
He explained the Prince George couple later discovered the sounds they heard were the windows cracking in the extreme heat.
After they realized what was happening, Leblanc’s boyfriend broke a window which allowed him, Leblanc and one of the dogs to escape.
He eventually passed out from smoke inhalation and after Leblanc tried unsuccessfully to save her other two dogs, Queenie and Apollo, she also passed out from the smoke.
“Thankfully there was a mechanic working at the volunteer fire department right across the street,” says Worden. “He came over because he saw the smoke and flames and he pulled her away from the house.”
However, because she was so close to the trailer and the heat from the fire when she passed out, she says she's suffered second and third-degree burns to about 40 per cent of her body.
Worden says Leblanc has since been released from hospital and is recovering well, but because she was unable to get insurance for her trailer, because of its age and rural location, she’s now lost everything, including the clothes on her back.
What she does have is the support of her friends and coworkers who have launched a GoFundMe campaign to help Leblanc get back on her feet.
“We stepped up right away to try and help her as fast as we can,” says Worden, who started the campaign with coworker Julia Young.
“Because of the fact that she has no insurance she has literally lost everything that she has worked for — She saved up for years and bought that property a few years back and that is everything she had.”
Worden says he wished he could do more for her through his Interior Vape business, but he’s in a tight spot because of provincial vaping regulations coming into effect in Spring 2020, which further tax and restrict vaping products.
“Our business might be shutting down quite quickly so our hands are kind of tied in terms of how much we can financially help her,” says Worden.
“It doesn’t help the fact that she and all of the other employees here are going to be losing their jobs if these regulations come into effect.”
The goal of the campaign is currently set at $150,000, and Worden says he’s hoping they can raise enough money to be able to put a new mobile or modular home on Leblanc’s property.
He says Leblanc is a very strong-willed person and it was hard for her to accept help, but was very thankful.
“I would just like to see the community come together,” says Worden.
“Even though Prince George has rough times, the three years that I’ve lived here I’ve seen this community can come together as a whole when needed. I’m just hoping that everyone can come together and help now”
As of this publication (Jan. 20), the GoFundMe has only raised $605 from 14 donors.
“It doesn’t take much just $5 or $10 here and there and that adds up over a couple thousand people. It doesn’t take much to change someone’s life,” says Worden.
Those who feel compelled to donate can do so through the GoFundMe campaign online.