Public rallies for family

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The community recently rallied together to help a family who lost their home and all of their belongings to a fire last month.

Jaimie and Darren D'Hondt were up north with their two small children when their home on Sinden Side Road near Langton went up in flames.

Norfolk County Fire and Rescue were called to the D'Hondt's home after 6 a.m. on July 29.

The house was fully engulfed in flames when crews arrived on scene. The second floor of the home collapsed shortly after and the home was considered a total loss.

The D'Hondt's friends quickly got to work organizing a bottle drive and bake sale to help the young family, who are now living in a trailer on their property.

“Any money helps,” said Mandie Marques, who helped organize the fundraiser at the McLaughlin Sports Park on Saturday. “We all know insurance takes a while to do something.”

The D'Hondts are extremely appreciative of the support they have received in the weeks following the fire.

“I can't even describe (what it means),” said Jaimie. “It is overwhelming.”

She said she could have never imagined something like this happening to her family and can't believe how friends, family and even strangers have come together to support them.

“Everybody has been so helpful,” said Darren.

“It is hard to express how thankful we are,” added Jaimie, who noted the emotional support has really helped the family.

While the fire destroyed all of their belongings, including precious photos and videos of their children, the couple hopes it will inspire others to be prepared.

“It was always our biggest fear,” said Darren, who was a volunteer firefighter for eight years.

He said his family routinely practised their fire escape plan, had fire extinguishers in the bedrooms and the home had five smoke detectors.

Deputy fire chief Jason Whiteley told the News-Record at the time of the fire that crews could hear the smoke detectors going off when they arrived on the scene. However there was no one home to hear them.

An hour into the bottle drive at the soccer park, a small trailer was nearly filled with beer and wine bottles. Community members also stopped by to drop off gift cards for the family to use until they can begin to rebuild their home.

Sarah Doktor

519-426-3528 ext. 112





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