The day after the March 26 fire that destroyed their Langley home, Paul and Tamara Riddoch loaded up with coffee and doughnuts, packed up their two-year-old daughter Berlyn and made the rounds of the firefighters and police who came to their aid, dropping in at local fire halls and the RCMP detachment building.
They wanted to say thanks.
“They deserve recognition,” Paul Riddoch told The Times.
The family, who did not have insurance, lost everything to the fire that destroyed their rented home in the 4500 block of 208 Street.
“We really felt lost at first,” Riddoch said.
But in the days that followed, the family has been flooded with donations, and offers of assistance, everything from clothing to furniture to toys for Berlyn.
Lots of toys.
“She’s pretty much got everything she had and more,” Riddoch said.
“We’re so grateful to be a community like this.”
More than 100 gift cards have been donated as well.
And a professional photographer has offered to take new pictures to replace the family photos that were lost in the fire.
For now, the family is staying with Riddoch’s mother while they search for a new home in Langley that is up to the standards of their old place.
“We’re being picky,” he said.
The landlord they shared their previous home with was “awesome” Riddoch said, and the 208 Street property, with its big back yard and generous parking, was perfect for a family with a dog and a home-based business.
Riddoch said their dog, a three-year-old labrador named Charlie, is the most upset about the fire because the condo his mother owns doesn’t have a yard for him to play in.
“He’s [Charlie] pretty bummed out.”
Riddoch said his daughter occasionally indicates that she wants to go home, but other than that, she seems to be doing just fine.
“We may have lost everything, but we have ourselves,” he said.
“We have each other. We’re blessed.”
Riddoch said the family is grateful to the many people who have come forward since the fire for their generosity and wants them to know that dad, mom, daughter and dog are all right.
“We’re doing great,” Riddoch said. “We’re happy.”