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N.B. senior loses everything in house fire: 'I can’t live out of a motel'


Bernie Griffiths still can’t believe his home of 40 years is gone.

The 75-year-old was working outside his home in Aulac, N.B., on Nov. 6 when he sensed something wasn’t right.

He rushed to his house and saw flames and smoke.

There was no chance to save it so he watched his house burn down.

“I lost everything. I got nothing left except for the clothes on my back and my truck. And that’s about it,” said Griffiths.

He’s staying at a nearby hotel for now, but that’s expensive.

The diabetic had to replace all of his medications, also costly.

He didn’t have insurance, doesn’t have the money to rebuild, so for now there’s no permanent home for him.

Bernie Griffiths lost his New Brunswick home in a fire on Nov. 6, 2023. (Source: CTV Atlantic News/Derek Haggett)His daughter Debbie Fury said he’s lost everything and she’s worried about him.

“He’s diabetic so you worry he needs his insulin or he could get really sick,” said Fury.

The Red Cross provided some emergency funding and three free nights in a hotel, but his finances are stretched pretty thin right now.

Fury has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise a little bit of money for her father and the short-term goal is to find him an apartment in the Sackville area.

Griffiths has lived on his own for years.

He likes the independence, so he’d rather not stay with his daughter in Truro, N.S.

It’s the only area he’s ever known since emigrating from England in 1976.

Fury says finding housing for a senior on a limited income has been harder than she thought.

“We all know there’s a housing crisis in our province and in Canada really,” said Fury. “Even just a small, a little apartment at least for now to get him secure for winter. We now have to look at clothing, appliances, you know, furniture.”

Bernie Griffiths lost his New Brunswick home in a fire on Nov. 6, 2023. (Derek Haggett/CTV Atlantic)

As for subsidised housing for seniors, Griffiths said the wait is longer than he can bear.

“It could be a wait of six months to a year. I can’t live out of a motel for six months,” he said.

The cause of the fire is not known.

“I just don’t know what to say,” said Griffiths. “Imagine if you went home to your house and it was like that.”

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