Veteran Cpl (Retired) Jonathan Lafleur’s home destroyed

Cpl (Retired) Jonathan Lafleur and Kristyn Moore

Cpl (Retired) Jonathan Lafleur and his fiancé Kristyn Moore in happier times.

Peter Mallett 
Staff Writer

A fundraising campaign is underway for a former Port Inspection Diver whose Cowichan Valley home was destroyed by a fire on February 6.   

The blaze completely gutted the newly-built container home of Cpl (Retired) Jonathan Lafleur, which was located in a remote section of Cowichan Valley.

Lafleur says the fire started when an article of clothing ignited from the hot exhaust of a propane-fuelled on-demand water heater. He does not have fire insurance. He had attempted to buy insurance for his home but had difficulty finding the proper policy for a container home.   

He is a former member of Fleet Diving Unit Pacific and Atlantic, CFB Comox Fire and Rescue, and previously served with NATO security forces in Afghanistan. Following his service in Afghanistan, Lafleur was clinically diagnosed with PTSD.

He built his off-the-grid metal container home himself and had been living there for almost a year before the fire. It was meant to be a sanctuary and escape from the stresses of urban living, says Lafleur. Due to the nature of his mental health condition, he cannot tolerate loud noises, be in big crowds, or heavily populated areas.

Fundraiser launched

His fiancé Kristyn Moore recently launched a GoFundMe campaign to pay for personal items lost in the fire and to rebuild. Lafleur says reaching out for help has been extremely difficult. 

“I am a proud veteran and I used to be the person who helped other people. Today, I am admitting very candidly that I have problems in my life and that it is hard for me. But in a situation like this you need to throw all of that out the window, ask for help, and take it.”

Lafleur and his fiancé managed to escape the blaze with only the clothes on their backs and their cell phones. Everything else the couple owned including their identification, car keys, furniture, clothing, jewellery, art work, and electronics was destroyed. Lafleur pegs the cost of personal contents at approximately $80,000. The cost of rebuilding will also be a steep financial hill to climb.

“We lost everything we own but the important thing is we got out safely,” says Lafleur. “Because the fire started with the water heater there was no water pressure for me to put out the fire and all we could do was watch it burn.”

As the fire raced through his home, his service dog Duke was at his side to ease his anxiety. Duke, a two-year-old Pomeranian Husky, is trained to calm Lafleur’s PTSD symptoms when they are triggered by instantly sensing when he is panicked. Duke alerted his fiancé to the fire.

Lafleur also lost three of his military medals in the blaze: a Campaign Star, NATO Medal, and his 12-year Canadian Forces’ Decoration. Thankfully, a contact with his local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion has started the process of getting new medals. 

The couple now reside in Nanaimo but have plans to return to their property and begin rebuilding their dream home.

To assist the couple in rebuilding their lives:


They lost all of their personal possessions in the Feb. 6 fire

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