Single mom, 6 kids homeless after Winnipeg house fire

A single mother of six in Winnipeg has found herself with nowhere to go and nothing to give her kids on Christmas morning after the family lost everything in a house fire.

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Candyce Pelletier’s six children range in age from four to 15. On Friday afternoon, the older children looked after the younger ones while Pelletier went to a medical appointment.

At some point, it seems that the four-year-old got his hands on a lighter and accidentally started a fire. Unfortunately, instead of calling 9-1-1, the children called a family friend who raced over to the house and told them to get out.

By the time firefighters arrived, the fire had all but destroyed the family's rental home.

The children were treated for smoke inhalation and while there were no serious injuries, their house is now uninhabitable and all their property is destroyed. The family cat also died in the blaze.

What’s more, Pelletier had no insurance. She says one of her sons didn't even have shoes on when he fled from the house into the snow outside.

"It's hard. Like, it's six days before Christmas,” Pelletier told CTV Winnipeg between tears.

For now, the family is staying at a hotel, watching movies. But they can’t stay at the hotel for long and Pelletier doesn’t even know where they will be for Christmas morning.

Mary Ann Funk, who works with the charitable organization Living Bible Explorers, says she has known the family for about four years.

"I was right away really shocked and devastated for her. I know she's been struggling and so it's just another thing on top of a lot of heartache,” she told CTV Winnipeg.

Funk is now appealing for donations of food and clothing to get the family through the next few days. She’s asking for those who would like to donate funds to go to their website.

Pelletier worries if she can't find a place to stay soon, the family may have to be split up for the holidays.

"It's hard enough just to buy them their winter stuff and their clothes they need. And then to be this close to Christmas and then have this happen? It's even worse,” she said.

With a report from CTV Winnipeg’s Ben Miljure



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