Fort Resolution raises money for family of Rhoni Beaulieu
16-year-old died in house fire last Friday
The community of Fort Resolution, N.W.T., has raised almost $13,000 for the family of Rhoni Beaulieu, the 16-year-old girl who died in a house fire in the community on Aug. 15.
Cecile Lafferty says she raised her granddaughter to be a loving young woman.
"She touched so many hearts," Lafferty says. "The elders, any elders she sees, she'll just go up to them and hug them, even if they didn't know her."
Lafferty says last week's fire left them with nothing. She and her husband are staying with relatives.
The community of Fort Resolution has raised money to help the couple rebuild their home and cover funeral costs for their granddaughter.
The community's Northern Store has collected close to $5,000 and the North West Company has promised to match those donations.
A former resident of Fort Resolution started an online fundraising campaign, raising about $1,500 in its first six hours.
"I'm so thankful for having my family and my friends and some people I don't even know, they're sending their condolences and everything," says Lafferty. "I just don't know how to thank everybody."
Rhoni Beaulieu's funeral is expected to be sometime next week.
Gas barbecue suspected as cause of fire
N.W.T. Fire Marshal Chucker Dewar says he suspects the fire started with a gas barbecue.
"The fire has been ruled accidental in nature," he said. "We haven't identified at this point the specific cause, but we do have a chief suspect in the fire, which is the residence's barbecue."
Dewar says the gas barbecue was next to the home. He cautions homeowners to make sure their barbecues are a safe distance from anything flammable, such as wall siding. Those clearances are usually specified in the instructions that come with the barbecue.
Dewar says owners should also regularly empty and clean the drip trays that catch grease.