A weekend house fire claimed the life of a Revelstoke resident.
RCMP and BC Coroners Service are investigating a fatal house fire that occurred on the morning of Oct. 24.
Friends and family of Sonya Riome, 35, are confirming she died in the blaze near the intersection of Douglas Street and Wright Street.
“Although the investigation is ongoing, police do not believe that criminality was involved in this tragic blaze,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.
Revelstoke Fire Rescue said when crews arrived on scene, heavy smoke was pouring from the basement.
Firefighters made four attempts to enter the burning home but said they were forced to turn back due to extreme conditions.
The fire took more than six hours to extinguish.
The homeowner, Lavone Calay, had only stepped out of the house for several minutes. When she returned home, smoke was spewing from her family home.
Anita Coueffin, long-time friend of Calay, spoke to Black Press on her behalf.
Coueffin said Calay has lost everything, including her only pair of glasses, escaping the blaze in her pajamas. Calay tried to get back into the home to look for Riome, Coueffin said, but the thick and dark smoke prevented her from locating the woman.
Riome was Calay’s former foster daughter and recent graduate of Okanagan College’s Health Care Assistant Certificate program.
While Calay’s three dogs survived the fire because they were in the yard, her two cats also died.
Calay lost her husband to a stroke earlier this year and could not afford home insurance.
“She’s lost everything,” said Coueffin.
Two gofundme pages have already been set up to help Calay. One called She’s Lost Everything with a goal of $150,000 and another called Help Lavone Calay Get Back on her Feet, hoping to raise $10,000. As of Oct. 26, the two have raised roughly $14,000.
“Calay has a heart as big as Texas. If she thought it could help someone, she’d give her last $5 away,” Coueffin said.
The cause of the fire has yet to be released.