A few months ago, lifelong Guelph resident Gina Davis moved into the perfect apartment. It met her needs for her mental health, her transitioning and her dog. It also provided solace to her after her family cut ties with her for transitioning.
Yesterday, that apartment on 9 Quebec St. went up in flames.
“I’m homeless right now,” said Davis.
“I need to find a new home, all my stuff is literally gone. I only have the clothes on my back, my purse and my dog. That's it,” said Davis.
Davis, who is currently staying at the Days Inn sponsored by the Red Cross for three days, created a Facebook group to raise $2,000 to help her back on her feet to find a new apartment to rent and some clothes to wear.
Several on Facebook have donated to her cause while some also offered clothing and basic necessities to help her out.
“I feel terrible because its all my fault,” said Davis.
Davis said on the day of the fire on July 18, she was multi-tasking with a number of things that led her to mismanage the stove.
“I had the stove on, I was simmering something that was very oily, and I was doing three things at once. The phone was ringing, my dog was on my side begging to go for a bathroom break,” said Davis.
“I swear I remembered my hands turning that dial and it came to me last night that instead of turning it from simmer to off, I mistakenly turned it up.”
Just as she was approaching her apartment from grocery shopping downtown after leaving the stove on, she saw fire trucks and ambulances on Quebec St.
“I didn't even know they were there for me at first,” said Davis.
“I walked by one of the stores where the storeowners know me and they said ‘Gina, it’s your house!’”
Davis said the incident seems like a blur since yesterday because of the shock.
“I'm prone to manic episodes because of my mental health situation,” said Davis who is currently in between jobs.
She said the owner of the apartment said the apartment suffered severe smoke and water damage and is currently unlivable for up to a year.
“I asked if I can come back after that and she said no,” said Davis.
Davis said the damage to her apartment resulted in two of her neighbours having to move out as well as leaving one of her neighbour’s business in the building in jeopardy.
“I'm feeling really not good,” said Davis who said she cannot reach out to her parents in Guelph.
“I only have a vague idea where they live,” said Davis.
“It's just going moment by moment at this point.”
She said the support she is receiving from fellow residents on Facebook is comforting at this difficult time when she has nobody to turn to.
“We live in a very beautiful city with an amazing community that always comes together for people. I mean I've seen it in the past happen over the years,” said Davis.