Friends are rallying for an Armstrong family who lost everything in an early morning structure fire Tuesday, Dec. 27.
The Armstrong Spallumcheen Fire Department was called to the Ritson-Bennett home on Highland Park Road at 4 a.m. for a fully involved fire at the house.
“It’s still under investigation but the fire is not suspicious at this time,” said Armstrong Spallumcheen Fire Chief Ian Cummings. “The two occupants of the home made it out safely but were suffering from smoke inhalation. They were taken to hospital but have since been released.
“Unfortunately, the occupants’ two cats and two dogs did not make it out.”
Family friend Amy Cohen started a GoFundMe campaign for the mother and son, Ginny and Darcy Ritson-Bennett, which, as of Thursday morning, had raised nearly $7,100 toward a $10,000 goal.
“Luckily Ginny and Darcy made it out of the house, however all the animals didn’t make it out, and virtually all of the family’s belongings were lost in the fire,” said Cohen. “The house was almost entirely destroyed and is not salvageable, and the family doesn’t have anything other than the clothes they were wearing when they escaped the flames.”
The Ritson-Bennetts are staying with neighbours for the time being but Cohen said they will be looking for a rental to move into as they put their lives back together.
Ginny Ritson-Bennett’s husband Willie, well known for his days in the horse racing industry, died in March 2022.
The GoFundMe campaign is for clothing, food and living expenses for the next few months.