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Gary Vaillancourt sprays water from his small boat onto a houseboat fire last Friday morning before firefighters arrived. A relief effort for the woman who owned the houseboat is now taking shape. Kimberly Fuller lost her home and her belongings in the fire. - Shane Magee/NNSL photo

Houseboaters rally for fire victim
Fundraising concert tentatively planned during Ramble and Ride in Old Town

John McFadden
Northern News Services
Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A fundraising effort is now in high gear for a woman whose houseboat and all her belongings were destroyed in a fire last Friday morning.

Kimberly Fuller escaped her houseboat unharmed but lost everything she owned. Now, the tight-knit houseboat community, along with others, are planning how they can best help Fuller get back on her feet.

"There are discussions to do a fundraising concert the first weekend in August at the Ramble and Ride festival in Old Town," said Matthew Grogono, owner of Old Town Glassworks. "It is something that we would provide the venue for and other people such as ARCC (Yk Artist Run Community Centre) would be the host."

Gary Vaillancourt, the fellow houseboater who was first on scene of the fire Friday morning, said he understands there are other efforts also underway.

"There are people looking for a barge for her to build another house and some people getting clothes for her. Everybody's pitching in," Vaillancourt said.

There was a brief meeting late Friday afternoon between the houseboaters and others who had helped clean Yellowknife Bay which was littered with debris from the fire, Vaillancourt said.

"When there's something going on, a common problem, the houseboaters really pull together and it was a real privilege to be involved in the cleanup even though it was for a sad reason," Vaillancourt said.

"There was a big supper after and a bunch of women prepared fish, so it was a magnificent community event."

Fuller herself was not yet prepared to talk about the fire on Monday. She did however reach out to the people

who are helping her.

"I don't even really know what to say other than I'm very appreciative of this tremendous community effort," Fuller said.

Yellowknifer asked Dennis Marchiori, the director of public safety for the city, about Fuller's possible bill for the firefighters' service.

"The owner of the houseboat will receive a bill similar to any other situation where we deal with a fire both inside and outside of our community boundary.

"I cannot confirm a dollar amount for any invoice and that is not information that we would disclose to anyone other than the owner," Marchiori stated in an e-mail.

According to the City of Yellowknife's website, the minimum charge for firefighting services is $500 for the first two hours.

Each additional two hours is $200, plus all actual overtime hours of off-duty firefighters required to operate fire division equipment, the website states. The maximum charge for a single-family residential dwelling is $4,500, it states. It couldn't be determined by press time how long firefighters were on the scene.

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