Gerry Dore, the man who died in the fire at Lewis Apartments on New Year’s Eve, is described by his daughter as a good person with a good heart that wanted the best for people.
Dawn Dore, who lives in Vancouver, said the unexpected death of her 65-year-old father is a tragic and painful loss.
“My father was my best friend, and I love him very much,” she said.
“He was a good man who did a lot for the street people and has done so for many many years. I grew up watching my dad do street outreach and it inspired me to do the same whenever somebody was in need. My dad was there to help them whether it was to feed them, talk to them, hug them, show them that they were cared about and that they meant something and never let them go without that thought.”
On the afternoon of Dec. 31, 2020, a devastating fire tore through the Lewis Apartments in North Cowichan, killing Dore and injuring several others.
Fire crews from Duncan and North Cowichan’s South End, as well as Maple Bay and Crofton halls, were quickly on the scene and began putting up ladders to help people escape their balconies on the third and fourth floors, as well as beginning to put the fire out.
One witness said they saw two people jump from the burning building.
The investigation into the fire is continuing and many residents of Lewis Apartments are being temporarily accommodated in hotels.
While authorities have yet to release any details of the incident, Dore said it’s suspected that her father’s oxygen tank, which he used for a health condition, could have been the cause of the blaze which started on the apartment building’s fourth floor.
Dore said she has started a GoFundMe page and is asking the community to help her give her father, who was known to be a tattoo artist, the proper memorial and funeral that he deserves.
She said she understands this is hard time for many in the community, but her family is really struggling to figure out how they’re going to go on without her father around, as well as having to face how they will pay for all the costs of putting him to rest.
“My father was well-known and well-liked by many, many people in the communities in which he lived, including Victoria, Port Alberni and Duncan,” she said.
“My father always made an impression with people and for that special reason I don’t want his memory to just fade away. I want people to be able to come together in this time and find a way that we can find closure and say goodbye together. I do hope that everyone else who was a victim of the tragic fire will soon be OK and that they able to put their lives back together just as we are trying to do.”