A devastating fire has left a Toronto family with just the clothes on their back.
Faustin Ndonga, Elise Kazadi and five of their 11 children were at home when the fire broke out in their Toronto Community Housing home in early November.
“I heard the smoke detector go off … [so] I started looking around the house,” said Augustin Ndongo. “As I started roaming around, [my brother] comes in. He was in the basement at the time and he comes to us and says, ‘Evacuate the house, there’s a fire downstairs.’”
One of the sons, 16-year-old Faustin, was in the basement when he also heard the fire alarm. “I smelt something and burnt and I looked around the corner and just saw the light of flames … [It was] by the dryer machine and the boiler. It was like fire coming out of nowhere. It was just building up.”
“As I got to the [basement] door, the flames were at the door so I just got out of the house as soon as possible,” said Augustin.
Augustin went back into the house after the fire was out to see if there was anything salvageable. “It was completely destroyed, there was nothing that survived.”
He had hoped to save a family album, but it also had been destroyed. “Those are memories you couldn’t get back at all,” said Augustine.
The family escaped unharmed, but were left with nothing. They are now in temporary housing and have learned that repairs to their home are expected to take nearly a year. With no tenant insurance to help them recuperate some of these losses, they need help.
Friends and community members have rallied together to provide aid to the Ndongos and a family friend launched a GoFundMe that has already raised over $15,000 of its $20,000 goal.
“The community has really helped us out. It’s unbelievable to be honest,” said Augustin. “We want to say thank you for them just being there for us during this hard time.”
“It’s really tough time we’re going through but we’ll get there step by step,” added Faustin.
They’re also asking for any donations of clothing, personal items and furniture. “We are starting from scratch,” shared Augustine.