Manitoba

Community rallies as Gimli fire victims recover

A 19-year-old man severely burned in a New Year's Day house fire in Gimli, Man., is slated for more surgery today.
A fire destroyed the Welch's house in Gimli on New Year's Day. (CBC)

A 19-year-old man severely burned in a New Year's Day house fire in Gimli, Man., is slated for more surgery today.

Jordan Welch sustained burns on 65 per cent of his body, from the waist up, after he went back into the burning house, thinking his sister, Jayda, was still inside.

Greg Welch, left, and children Jayda and Jordan, escaped Tuesday's house fire but lost their home and belongings. Greg and Jordan Welch remain in hospital with injuries and burns. (Family photo)

But 12-year-old Jayda had already escaped, suffering cuts and bruises.

Their father, Greg Welch, 41, also escaped along with six other people who were in the house at the time.

Jordan Welch's uncle Ian Tarnowski said his nephew had an emotional reunion with his sister after they had both been treated for their injuries.

"It was a very emotional experience for him … knowing that she was OK and knowing that his dad was OK. There's definitely a true bond between the two," Tarnowski said.

While the family continues to recover, their community is doing what it can for them.

This month there are no fewer than three fundraisers for the family, including an RCMP hockey game, a basketball tournament and a social in Fraserwood:

  • Feb 13 — RCMP hockey game at Gimli Rec Centre.
  • Feb 15 and 16 — Basketball tournament at the Gimli High School.
  • Feb 17 —  Social in Fraserwood.

Tarnowski said the outpouring of support has been incredible.

It's an amazing thing, you know? We've gotten donations from people from B.C. to Yorkton, Saskatchewan. Actually, we got one from Nunavut, believe it or not," he said.

 

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