Samantha Gledhill, 26, is one of six tenants without a home after a fire ravaged an Oak Bay house Saturday. Gledhill said the event has been both traumatic and stressful as she begins looking for a new home. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Greater Victoria resident displaced by fire struggling to find affordable accommodations

Samantha Gledhill hasn’t been allowed back in her rental suite to retrieve her mom’s ashes

A house full of tenants are homeless after a fire damaged their Davie Street home Saturday.

One tenant, 26-year-old Samantha Gledhill, said the six occupants haven’t yet been able to return and assess the damage to their personal belongings. She’s already started the search for a new, affordable place to live.

“We’re not allowed to live there anymore, we’ve been told it’s uninhabitable,” she said. Gledhill lived in the bottom level of the home with two roommates. During the fire, one of the residents in the top floor unit suffered smoke inhalation when he ran back into the home to rescue his dog.

RELATED: Victoria man runs into burning house to rescue dog

The cause of the fire, which appears to have started near the top floor, remains unclear, but the Victoria Fire Department is investigating.

Gledhill felt fortunate to have been out of town when the fire occurred and that her cat was rescued from the flames. She’s now staying at a friend’s house and said even though the worst of the fire is over, the struggles continue for the displaced residents.

“It’s been really hard honestly,” she said. “Especially with the housing market here in Victoria. I looked at one-bedrooms casually and they are a minimum of $1,200 to $1,500. I work a minimum wage job. I can’t afford that.”

And finding a place for herself, her cat, and her two roommates is next to impossible, she added. A struggle that many young people are familiar with in Victoria.

“This is not something I ever expected to happen,” she said, adding she did not have insurance.

While Gledhill has not been able to return to her bedroom, she noted there are two items of top concern – her mother’s ashes and a taxidermy owl that had belonged to her late father.

It will come at a cost but she said everything else can be replaced.

READ ALSO: Women reeling after losing Saanich home and belongings to fire

A fundraiser is being held for the victims of the fire at Axe & Grind on Nov. 4 from 3 to 10 p.m. The public is invited to come out and throw some axes or simply donate.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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