‘Ottawa’ Fundraiser for Kanata Fire Victims Surpasses $5,000 Goal on First Day
An online fundraiser to help the victims of Wednesday’s house fire, which left an 18-month-old boy in critical condition with severe burns, has already surpassed its initial goal of $5,000 on its first day.
The fundraiser, hosted and verified by GoFundMe, was launched by family members of the McNeil family. The campaign hit its target around 4 p.m. Thursday — largely through small individual contributions — when one anonymous donor pledged $2,000.
Chris and Tammy McNeil, along with their 18-month-old son Cody, were forced to flee their Kanata townhouse when a fire broke out in the child’s nursery around 2 a.m. Wednesday. Flames spread to the crib, and the child suffered severe burns to his face and hands. He was treated on scene and rushed to CHEO in critical condition. He was still in critical, but stable condition in hospital Thursday.
Chris McNeil was also treated for smoke inhalation and released from hospital, and according to family friends, the couple has since been at their son’s bedside in CHEO.
“This fund is to help a family rebuild and support any help they may need through this hard time,” reads a posting on the fundraiser written Joanne Campeau. “This is my family. Tammy (McNeil) is my cousin and I cannot even start to imagine the emotions she’s going through with her husband Chris … Materialistic things can be replaced but the support and rebuilding comes from people just like you.”
As of 5 p.m. Thursday, the campaign had generated 114 donations, totaling $7,005.
Investigators with the Ontario Fire Marshal said the cause of the fire at 84 Gowrie Dr. remains under investigation. It is not considered suspicious.
A family friend said Chris McNeil credited a working smoke detector for possibly saving the family’s lives.
“He said if it wasn’t for the smoke detector they probably wouldn’t be here today. It was in the middle of the night, so they were all sleeping,” said friend Amanda LeGoueff, who said she exchanged messages with McNeil early Wednesday. “He said everything was okay, considering what happened.”
She said the couple suspected a humidifier may have been the source of the fire.
Fire investigator Peter Hamilton confirmed the fire originated in the child’s bedroom on the second floor, but said the exact cause has not been determined.
The Fire Marshal removed several items from the house for off-site testing, and said it could be up to two months before investigators pinpoint the cause.