No one was hurt, but few things survived the fire that burned down John Gerz’ home in Queen Charlotte on Jan. 15. Starting with a small building with a washroom and kitchen, they are looking to rebuild with help from the community where Gerz has made his home since 1974. (Submitted)

Father and son rebuild after fire in Queen Charlotte

John Gerz is extra grateful for Queen Charlotte firefighters.

Not only did they save his son Ryan’s tiny home from the fire that destroyed his own trailer on Jan. 15, but they were back the next day with donations.

“They gave us a microwave, a toaster oven and some dishes,” said Gerz. “It helped us do some cooking.”

For Gerz, losing the 80-foot trailer was bad enough.

Inside was his computer, several tools, a carved wooden desk that was a gift from his mother, and all his old vinyl records and reel-to-reel music tapes. The 2nd Avenue home was uninsured.

“I try not to think about it too much,” said Gerz, who at 71 has a part-time job at the Super Valu in Sandspit, where he also keeps an R.V.

“Having a part-time job here helps quite a bit,” he said. “It takes my mind off of things.”

Besides lack of insurance and two weeks of steady rain that turned the wrecked trailer site into a sea of mud, Gerz said the tricky thing about rebuilding is that his son’s tiny home has no kitchen, washroom, or running water.

So after wheeling all the trailer wreckage into a pair of dumpsters, their first task is to put up a small building that can house a shower, toilet, sink, and hot-water tank.

Gerz was looking forward to getting a lot of the cleaning up done over the Family Day holiday, but said they could use some financial help to finish the little building.

A donations account is now set up at the Northern Savings Credit Union, with the number 7416951, and a GoFundMe page has also been set up. In-kind donations are also coming in, including a metal roof from AMS Building Supply.

Gerz said the Jan. 15 trailer fire started after sparks flew up from a rubbish fire that his son had going in the backyard. His son tried to douse the flames himself, but it spread too quickly.

Once they are able to get a shower, cooking area, and washroom on site, Gerz said the next step is to find a used R.V. for himself so he doesn’t have to sleep on his son’s chesterfield when he’s in Queen Charlotte. His dog Harley could use his own space to curl up, too.

“If there is one available on the islands, I would gladly look at that,” he said. “I’m pretty handy, so you know, if it needs a bit of work I can do that.”

To phone Gerz about donations, helping out, or a used R.V. on Haida Gwaii, call 250-559-4407.

Just Posted

Haida Gwaii seabird conservation highlighted at international congress

Bird Studies Canada’s David Bradley is co-convening a symposium on biosecurity for island species

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Ferry sailing delayed after divers check Northern Adventure

Divers called in to check propeller shaft, sailing to Haida Gwaii now 140 minutes behind

Haida Gwaii fishery staff gear up for marine mammal rescues

Haida fishery guardians and DFO fishery officers better equipped to rescue marine mammals

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Former Trump aide Paul Manafort found guilty of eight charges

A mistrial has been declared for the other 10 charges against him

Canada’s team chasing elusive gold medal at women’s baseball World Cup

Canada, ranked No. 2 behind Japan, opens play Wednesday against No. 10 Hong Kong

Former B.C. detective gets 20 months in jail for kissing teen witnesses

James Fisher, formerly with Vancouver police department, pleaded guilty to three charges in June

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark criticizes feds for buying pipeline

The $4.5 billion purchase of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline second worst decision, she said

‘Takes more courage to fail’: B.C. ultra-marathon swimmer reflects on cancelled try at record

Susan Simmons halted her swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back because of hypothermia

Animals moved from B.C. Interior shelters to make way for pets displaced by wildfires

The Maple Ridge SPCA houses animals to make space for pets evacuated from B.C.’s burning interior.

$21.5 million medical pot plant to be built in B.C.

The facility is to be built in Princeton

Spokane man enlists 500,000+ box fans to blow wildfire smoke back to B.C.

Spokane man Caleb Moon says he’s had enough with smoky skies from B.C.’s forest fires blanketing his city

Most Read