Montgomery residents face difficult holiday season after fire destroys townhouses

Ava Berry was facing an “almost impossible” holiday season after losing her home to a fire earlier this week, but things are looking up thanks to the generosity of Calgarians.

The fire broke out at a four-unit townhouse in Montgomery on Tuesday morning.

Berry and his son, Daryl Noble, were two of 11 people forced to leave the complex in the 4500 block of Montgomery Avenue NW

“I looked out of my bedroom window and saw flames coming out of the carport,” she said. “I was lucky to come out of there with my life.”

As she determines her next steps, Berry now focuses on the possessions she lost in the fire.

She says that one thing in particular stands out.

“I just lost my son in March of this year, so it’s been a really tragic year for me. I had his ashes in a necklace that was in there,” she told CTV News. “I can’t believe he’s gone.”

Berry says she’s talking to Calgary Housing about a move to the southwestern part of the city.

Noble, whose name was not on the lease, says that from next week he could be homeless.

And the duo are not the only tenant facing a difficult recovery.

Neighbors Spencer McGuire and Deia Ward-Viney say they had sentimental items inside their unit related to the birth of their daughter Riley.

“We had her birth tags when she was newborn and like the little beanie they put on her and, you know, photo albums, stuff that can’t be replaced,” Ward-Viney said.

“Coming into the situation, we were just trying to make ends meet, trying to pick up and build, and we did it and then… he was devastated.”

But as Christmas approaches, there is a small ray of hope for both families.

Two fundraising pages put in place to help them get back on their feet financially have already exceeded their goals.

“We are blessed,” Ward-Viney said on Friday. “I am speechless because I have never had such support from complete strangers.”

Berry said she “wouldn’t know what I would do without everyone’s help.”

“Everyone has been so wonderful and they have been so kind and supportive and that makes me cry,” she said.

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