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Penticton  

GoFundMe started for a house fire victim by a stranger with a heart for helping

GoFundMe for house fire

A local woman is slowly getting to put her life back together after a house fire in March. 

Linda Paksec has been able to recover thanks to help from a GoFundMe, created by another Penticton resident, Lori Capozzi.

“I never knew Linda prior to the fire, I heard about it on Facebook. I worked down Duncan Avenue and [when] I drove by the house and it was still boarded up,” Capozzi said.

“It just seemed like nothing was happening and I wondered why isn't the house getting fixed, why isn't anybody doing anything?”

After being put in touch with her through Facebook groups, Capozzi found out just how tough Paksec’s life had been.

Soon after the fire, she had lost her husband. Her daughter, who has special needs, was placed in a home share agreement until Paksec can get situated. And the motel she was staying in was less than pleasant.

Capozzi worked with the firefighter who rescued Paksec, Gord Portman, and Rochelle Diaz, a College student, to help her out. 

So far, they’ve managed to get her into a one-bedroom apartment, get it furnished from donations, started sorting through part of the house and have been working with a lawyer. The challenge is the house damaged by the fire doesn‘t hold insurance and everything is currently in her husband’s name. 

“They inherited the house quite a while ago from his father and I guess they had insurance at one point in time but they had taken it off because they were going to sell the house and go back to Manitoba ... and then the fire happened.”

It has also been ransacked by squatters, who keep breaking in through the boarded-up windows and doors. 

“Squatters keep going in there and having a party I guess. They've gone through all of her stuff, everything has been overturned, they stole all of her diamond rings.” 

Eventually, she wants to return home.

“Some people say it's worth fixing up, some people say it's not. It's really bad inside,” Paksec said. 

Capozzi said she just wants to make it less stressful for her to get by, her plan is to pay next month's rent for her, take her and get her some clothes. The GoFundMe is being used to make these things possible and help set up the next phases for Paksec. 

“We've been doing this for a couple months,” Capozzi said. “I'd be nice if I had some more help, it really would.”

Paksec said she didn’t know what she would’ve done without the help, the support from this woman who didn’t know her and the community.

“I couldn't believe it, I was really surprised. I got so much help,” she said.” They're the best, I just thank them so much. They're pretty much looking after me. I'm being looked after.” 

“I want to get my daughter back, staying with me, that's number one on my list.”



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