The son of a Westsyde woman who died after her trailer went up in flames Monday wants to know how the fire started, and is remembering his mother as an ever-present source of support.
“Whatever I needed, my mom was always there for me,” said Dallas France, 32, who lived in the trailer with his mother, but wasn’t home at the time of the fire.
The fire began in her Westsyde Mobile Home Park trailer on Grant Road at about 3:30 a.m. on Monday, gutting the structure and damaging an adjacent trailer.
Fiona France was rushed to Royal Inland Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries later that day.
Brianne Gair, a longtime friend to Dallas and Fiona, said the 62-year-old was like a mother to her as well, describing her as a caring person who always stopped her from procrastinating.
“Every kid or even adult she came in contact with, she was a mother figure to them,” said Gair. “Most of us all called her mom too.”
Gair said she was shocked to hear what happened, having last seen Fiona about an hour before the fire occurred.
She had spent Sunday with Fiona, who left her house at about 2 a.m. Monday morning after the pair stayed up talking, Gair told KTW.
“We were really close,” said Gair. “I saw her pretty much every day.”
She said a friend alerted her to the fire at about 7 a.m. and police confirmed what had happened when she arrived at the scene.
Gair then called Dallas, who had spent the night at his girlfriend’s place.
He said his phone rang so much that he eventually figured something must be wrong, so he took Gair’s call.
“I just started bawling,” he said.
He and Gair went to visit his mother in the hospital, where he hoped he’d be able to talk to her.
“I walked in and her eyes were grey — she looked horrible — and I knew she was gone,” said Dallas.
Gair has started a GoFundMe campaign to ease the financial burden of funeral costs, as well as other expenses the family may face. She is also helping with funeral arrangements — a date for which is still pending.
Arson has been ruled out by investigators in connection with the death, but Dallas said the incident still strikes him as suspicious, noting his mother didn’t smoke in the house and used battery-operated candles.
“Other than it being an electrical fire … I couldn’t see how it would have happen other than somebody doing it, but I don’t know. I wasn’t home,” he said.
Kamloops Fire Rescue and Kamloops RCMP initially deemed the fire suspicious in nature and officers arrested and questioned two male youths found nearby. They were later released and police no longer have an interest in the pair.
Dallas described the fact they were found at the scene as odd, but was relieved to hear arson has been ruled out.
Kamloops Fire Rescue Chief Mike Adams told KTW earlier this week that all fires are considered suspicious until investigators have had time to determine cause and origin.
According to the RCMP’s serious crimes unit, analysis of the scene could rule out arson but not, at this time, determine the fire’s cause.
Dallas said his priorities now are to find out what caused the fire, make funeral arrangements and find a new place to live.
Fiona is survived by her three children and multiple grandchildren.