Efforts are underway to help a Shuswap family after they lost a number of animals, feed and tack in a barn fire.
A GoFundMe page was set up set up for Corey and Chelan Sabiston and their children after the Feb. 19 blaze destroyed a barn on their Malakwa property.
According to Columbia Shuswap Regional District Fire Services Co-ordinator Sean Coubrough, Malakwa firefighters responded on the morning of the 19th to a structure fire in the 4,000 block of the Trans-Canada Highway. When they arrived, firefighters found a barn fully engulfed. Coubrough said they were able to stop the fire from spreading beyond the barn, but the structure itself was a loss.
“Speaking with the owners, the father had worked a night shift and he was woken up by his wife,” said Coubrough. “They had seen the smoke and they did what they could to try and knock it down –a heroic effort trying to save their animals using fire extinguishers. But the fire was just too far out of control at that point and the extinguishers they had were not effective.”
Coubrough said the fire remains under investigation, though it is believed the cause was linked to efforts made to keep the family’ goats warm during the recent cold snap. Coubrough said the goats and some of the family’s fowl were killed in the fire.
A pair of horses belonging to the family survived, though their hay, feed, tack and blankets were lost. The horses, Archie and JJ, were adopted through Aldergrove’s Greener Pastures, a society dedicated to retraining and finding homes for retired standardbred racehorses. During their time on the track, Archie and JJ were known as Active Pass and Im A Be Doud.
Greener Pastures’ Sherrie McAllan launched the fundraiser for the Sabistons, including their six adopted children, who were all devastated by the loss.
“Their daughter had saved up her own money to buy a saddle for Active Pass which was taken by the fire,” explains McAllan on the GoFundMe page. “Her special bond with this war horse can be felt through the photo’s and updates they send us. We are heartbroken for the family as they tread through these difficult times.”
Donations of supplies and money are also being accepted for the family at The Grindrod Feed Store at 72 Tomkinson Rd. in Grindrod.