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Donations being accepted for residents displaced by fire

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A bank account for donations has been set up, and Katmandu Sports is currently accepting contributions for the five residents of a Balsam Way house destroyed by fire on Monday afternoon, March 26.

Wistler Fire Rescue Services investigated and in their report issued on April 4 they concluded that a frayed lamp wire was likely the cause.

"We can't really confirm that right now and an indepedent investigator is taking the lamp associated with it for electrical testing," said Whistler Fire Chief Rob Whitton.

"It could be the cord of the lamp had broken down over time by stuff moved against it, causing an arc and what was likely a small, smouldering fire that built up over time."

Whitton said the cord was in an area with other items that were used fequently, which may have broken down the insulation covering the copper wiring. The fire spread to the wall where the electrical outlet was placed.

Around 5 p.m., the two residents who were home were sitting in the lounge watching television when they smelled something burning. They immediately checked the kitchen, and then followed the smell upstairs. The discovered flames coming out of the wall of one bedroom.

They battled the fire with blankets and used a fire extinguisher from next door to battle the flames, but soon it became apparent that the fire was in the wall and that there was too much smoke to remain upstairs.

"He (roommate) really did everything he could to put it out, he was getting burned and his beard was singed," said Daniel Tulloh, who had occupied one of the other rooms with his girlfriend since the start of the ski season.

When they went downstairs Whistler Fire Services was arriving. They grabbed jackets and snowboards from the front hallway and left the house. By then, according to firefighters, fire was visible on two floors of the house.

Tulloh appreciates all the help he's received since the incident, and has already found a temporary place to stay with a friend. Having only recently arrived, they lost less than their roommates who had been in Whistler for several years.

However, the loss of passports has created a few issues.

"One of the main reasons why we (Tulloh and his girlfriend) came over here was to go to Coachella (music festival), and we can't travel down there on emergency passports. And we've got our flights booked for April 9," said Tulloh. He's working to get replacement passports through the Australian consulate, but knows it will be difficult with less than two weeks from the fire to the flight.

There was no danger to the surrounding homes, but it took several hours and more than 20 firefighters to put out the blaze completely. A large portion of the house was severely damaged.

According to a friend, who has asked not to be named, the five residents staying there are shocked. They were already mourning the recent deaths of friends Mike Grefner and David Christian in separate incidents, and are now dealing with the loss of their house and possessions as well.

Donations can be made at Scotiabank under the name "Whistralian Survivors." As well, friends are setting up a bank account at TD Canada Trust, and at PayPal through a Facebook page. Go to Facebook's "Dog House fire – Please donate" page to find out more.

The goal is to raise enough for a damage deposit and a first month of rent at another house, as well as to replace some of the possessions they've lost.

The building, known locally as the Dog House, was older, but recently the landlord had spent money fixing walls damaged by previous tenants and replacing doors.

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