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Calgary family grapples with aftermath of Evanston house fire – Calgary

Fire investigators are still looking into the cause of two major house fires that destroyed several homes in the northwest community of Evanston.

The Calgary Fire Department says at least one fire started on the outside of the home, but hasn’t pinpointed exactly what first ignited.

It’s just another question on the minds of the families who lost everything.

In the days after her home was destroyed by fire, Blessing Gabriel-Omesah was still in shock and worried about how her family would handle the loss.

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Two Calgary homes ‘significantly damaged’ in northwest fire

“My sister was just crying,” said Blessing. “I didn’t know how to stop her from crying while I was already crying. It was just so just traumatizing.”

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But now her mother Sandra Gabriel-Omesah says the feelings of despair and loss have only grown deeper.

“The days are more traumatic than the actual day of the incident,” said Sandra. “The reality is just setting in.”

The process wasn’t helped by what the family said was a three-day response from their insurance company.

Click to play video: 'Two Calgary homes 'significantly damaged' in northwest fire'

1:01Two Calgary homes ‘significantly damaged’ in northwest fire

Two Calgary homes ‘significantly damaged’ in northwest fire

They’ve now been set up in a hotel and will be soon looking for more permanent accommodations so that the family can start getting back to some semblance of normal.

“I gain strength from the fact that we’re all alive. It could have been worse,” said Sandra.

“If I had a child in the hospital right now or if one of us had passed, it would have been way worse.”

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Helping hand

An Evanston community page on Facebook has started to collect funds and donations to help all the families impacted by the two fires.

Brangwyn Jones who helps run a similar page in the neighboring community of Sage Hill says people in his neighborhood have also started to pitch in.

“We have to go back to the grassroots of taking care of each other,” said Jones. “It’s what societies are supposed to do.”

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Jones adds that major events like a multi-home fire show just how important it is to have a tight-knit community.

“By knowing your neighbors, you’ll feel less awkward helping them because they’re your neighbors and your friends,” said Jones.

Sandra said it did take community organizers almost a week to get in contact with her family but added there are plans to meet up.

Click to play video: 'Community of Varsity on edge after two suspicious house fires in less than three weeks'

1:53Community of Varsity on edge after two suspicious house fires in less than three weeks

Community of Varsity on edge after two suspicious house fires in less than three weeks

Family friend Lloyd La Touche said it’s imperative that everyone who can help steps up when they see a family in need.

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“We need to help each other. We need to stop and pay attention to what’s going on in our area,” said La Touche.

He adds he would like to see more proactive support for families throughout Calgary.

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