Regina family of 5 flees flaming home and watches garage explode

A family of five from Regina is staying in a hotel after the home they've lived in for 12 years burned down this week.

Taylor Gallant, 23, recounted the night of the fire.

She said her mother Jan had kidney surgery on June 11 and was resting and watching TV on the couch the next night.

Jan heard crackling but thought it was coming from her son's laptop. She assumed her son Caleb, 19, was watching YouTube.

When she got up to go to bed, Jan passed the door to the garage and realized that's where the sound was coming from, along with black smoke.

Jan rushed upstairs to wake her husband Denis, Taylor said. They also woke Caleb.

Taylor and her sister Alivia, 13, were sleeping downstairs. Denis kicked down Alivia's door and got her up. Then he went to get Taylor. She said she rushed out with the rest of the family, wearing her pyjamas and leaving her phone behind.  

Submitted by Jan Gallant

Jan called 911 at 11:10 p.m. CST.

"She felt guilty that she didn't get up sooner and check out those noises — she didn't obviously think it was a fire — but really we just told her that she's a hero," said Taylor. "If she would have been sleeping or if she wouldn't have gotten up when she did we would have been trapped."

The family was running down the driveway with their puppy Little Bear when they turned back to see the garage explode.

"I blacked out. By the time I woke up to being outside it probably wasn't even 20 seconds," said Taylor. "It all happened so quickly."

The family doesn't know what started the fire. It's still being assessed.

The main floor and garage were destroyed, the top floor collapsed and the basement was heavily damaged by smoke. The three vehicles in the driveway and one in the garage were all burned to the point of likely being written off, Taylor said.

"It's awful, obviously," said Taylor.

She said she comforts herself with the knowledge it could have been much worse.

"Tf it was 30 seconds later we all would have been dead," she said. "We just need to obviously keep that in mind, like, when we get upset or down or whatever it is. I think we're very lucky to have each other and that we all made it out."

Submitted

Alivia's Grade 8 grad was the next day. With all of the family's possessions gone, the community stepped up to help.

Local store Uphoria Muse donated clothes to the family and someone from the beauty department at Shoppers Drug Mart did Alivia's makeup.

Family friend and hairdresser Shana Moryski did her hair.

"The amount of support we've had is beyond words," said Taylor.

Moryski and other friends also started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the Gallants. The goal has been set at $10,000.

"It's basically just to get them back on their feet, you know, until some insurance starts to kick in because they have nothing, like literally," said Moryski. "It's just a tough pill to swallow that you have literally been left with nothing but the clothes on your back."

Moryski said she received a photo from Jan as the family's house was burning Wednesday night and immediately drove in from her house in White City.

As she was driving down Arcola Avenue, she could see the flames.

When she arrived, she said all the neighbours on the cul de sac were out of their homes and watching the fire. Neighbours offered the Gallants clothes and blankets.

Submitted by Jan Gallant

Moryski said it's been an emotional few days for the Gallants and their loved ones.

"It's all kind of just been ripped apart right now until they can have that space back for them."

Red Cross is covering the Gallant's hotel stay for three nights, but the family is looking for a more permanent living situation, with hopes of renting a fully furnished unit.

"It's a lot of loss, basically," said Taylor. "All our memories and our baby photos and wedding video and possessions. That's a huge loss."