Thousands raised on GoFundMe for victims of fatal house fire

More than $116,000 has been raised online to help Arija Jansons who lost her son, mother and close family friends in the Gainsborough Road house fire on Jan. 29.

In two days, one GoFundMe campaign organized by friend Tyler MacDougall has raised nearly $32,000 toward its goal of $35,000 to pay Jansons’ family funeral costs and “help her rebuild  her life from the ground up,” according to the funding page.

“Tragically, she lost her mom, Jana, her beautiful son, Kai, and one of her closest friends in the disaster,” says MacDougall on the page she set up. “As a dear friend of Arijas and her family, we have decided to put this fundraiser together to help her through what is to be one of the most challenging times in her life.”

In the same time period, another GoFundMe campaign organized by relative Sandra Memenis has raised more than $84,000 toward its goal of $90,000.

“My heart hurts for this senseless loss of life and I’m still trying to process it….” Memenis writes on the funbdraising page.”In the early morning hours of January 29, my Oma and Opa’s old family home in east Toronto caught fire and in the inciting inferno three beautiful souls were lost … my Tante Jana Jansons (dad’s sister), my cousin Arija’s sweet little boy, Kai, and Amanda Freimanis.”

She beseeches help for Arija and “my cousin Rolands, who as next of kin has been involuntarily thrust into shouldering this heavy burden.”

GoFundMe picture of Arija and Kai Jansons.
FUNDRAISER: Arija Jansons and son Kai are shown in an undated photo on Sandra Memenis’s GoFundMe page.

These are two of several campaigns known to be raising money for the victims of the Jan. 29 fire.

Another, organized by “Marianna Mitrovic and three others” who self-identify as friends and members of the community, has raised more than $42,000 for all the victims in the three days since the GoFundme page was launched. Their goal is stated as $100,000.

Four people died in the fire that ravaged the east-end house and spread to the rooftops of neighbouring homes early Friday morning.

Gainsborough fire aftermath
AFTERMATH: Firefighters watch over site of fire that killed four on Jan. 29/

“This is one of our city’s worst fires in recent decades,” Beaches-East York councillor Brad Bradford tweeted the day of the fire.

“The loss of our lives is hard to make sense of. It’s devastating,” he said in a statement.

Friends and neighbours have identified to media the deceased as Arija Jansons’s mother Jana Jansons, son Kai Jansons, Matthew Zdybal and Amanda Freimanas.

Arija Janson survived the fire but is reported to be remaining in hospital in intensive care.

“Arija has been taken off a ventilator and is now breathing on her own,” according to a comment posted  by MacDougall on Jan. 31. “She has severe lung damage. She is expected to survive but we still don’t know the full extent of her injuries.”