It may be up to two years before residents of Langley City’s Paddington Station condo complex can go home.
After fire swept through the fourth floor and roof of the building on Sunday, dozens of people found themselves homeless, many with nothing but the clothes on their back.
On Monday, many of the residents attended a meeting with local emergency responders and civic officials at Douglas Rec Centre.
They were told that the building would likely be re-built, but that it would be 18 months to two years before repairs are complete, said first floor resident Leroy Jones.
He and his wife Liberty Monceda have the clothes they were wearing and the family car, which was at Monceda’s workplace on Sunday.
They were speaking to their insurance adjuster later Monday and hoping to get some money to let them buy clothing and get through the next few days, after they leave the hotel room provided by Langley’s emergency program.
As for where they’re staying for Christmas?
“We don’t know yet,” said Monceda.
Residents of the lower floors, one through three, will get a chance starting Tuesday morning, to go back into their suites to see if there is anything salvageable.
Mark Francis doesn’t expect to find much in his third-floor condo that wasn’t destroyed.
He got out with his little dog, Yoda, a coat and the clothes he was wearing. That’s all.
“I’ve only been there 12 days,” Francis said.
His personal possessions aren’t insured. He’d been too busy with a family illness to buy insurance.
He also heard Monday that he’ll likely have to pay strata fees and possibly property taxes for the up to two years it will take to rebuild.
Despite the issues ahead, he said his treatment has been excellent.
“Complete strangers have given me money,” Francis said.
He’ll be staying with friends for now.
“I’m hoping it’s all a nasty dream,” he said.
Local charities have stepped up and are taking in donations. The Douglas Rec Centre has already run out of room for items after people began dropping off things on Sunday.
Sources Food Bank and the Langley Christmas Bureau are working on getting food to the fire victims, and the Salvation Army is expected to soon announce a bank account where monetary donations can be sent.
The fire struck at about 10 a.m. on Sunday morning, starting in a fourth floor unit. It tore through the roof area of the condo complex at 201A Street and Fraser Highway, gutting much of the upper floor.