The community has rallied around siblings Laura and Javier Monsalve

Community rallies around tenant of Old East Road house fire

Community rallies around Latin dance instructor who lived at 6010 Old East Rd., which burned on Feb. 2

When Javier Monsalve returned to his two-bedroom suite at 6010 Old East Rd. last Friday, he hoped to find an insurance representative there.

Instead, the doors and windows of the well-known Latin dance instructor’s home were boarded up, and he was told he’d wait close to a week before he could get inside.

No rush, says Monsalve, as he anticipates nearly all of his belongings are beyond salvage from the fire and water damage that ripped through the home on Feb. 2.

“When I first got (to the fire) it was a moment of either choosing chaos in my mind or staying tranquil in calm waters, and I chose the bright side over the darkness,” he said.

Monsalve, sister Laura and her four-year-old daughter Ali, who live with Javier at the residence part time, were away when the daytime fire broke out.

“I have me health, my legs and hands, my essence. This is a sign for a new beginning, the closing of one door, the opening of a new door,” he said.

Supporters of the siblings set up a crowdfunding site last week, which had raised more than the $5,000 target by Friday (Feb. 13). This week CFAX Santa’s Anonymous presented Ali with a new set of toys to replace those she lost in the fire.

“(Ali) doesn’t fully understand what the fire means for us, we’re just telling her it’s time to stay and grandma’s for a while.”

Monsalve credits the great response to the dancing community he’s been apart of since he moved to Greater Victoria 12 years ago.

As the founder of the Sabor Asi Dance Company, Monsalve said the Latin dancing community around it has been a source of healing now more than ever.

“I don’t have receipts, I don’t know how much I’ve lost in terms of value,” Monsalve said. “One thing is I didn’t have (tenancy) insurance, so this is a valuable lesson for me. Maybe it can be a wake-up call for others.”

The house has four rental units in total, and three (including Monsalve’s) suffered significant water and smoke damage, said a Saanich Fire department spokesperson.

“Dancing is a portal for renewal and revitalizing and a door to happiness, we’re not just saying these things but leading by example, and will continue to,” Monsalve said.

For now, he has taken up residence at a friend’s house who is away for an extended vacation. It gives him time to accumulate the furnishings he’ll need when he finds his own home once again.

The Feb. 2 fire wasn’t without it’s casualties.

An off-duty Saanich firefighter noticed the building was on fire and alerted the upstairs tenant, and managed to escort one person from the house during the fire but the landlords lost two cats, two dogs and a parrot to smoke inhalation.

“It’s sad. We’d always see the dogs walking, heard the parrot, and we always played with the animals when we were upstairs,” Monsalve said. “I’ve only been living in that space since October. I was planning on being there for a while.”

The Monsalves are grateful for the response and are asking anyone who wants to help to donate to the Victoria Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation and to the B.C. SPCA.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich looks to help restaurants increase capacity with outdoor seating

District working to ensure restaurants can make the most of summer weather, mayor says

Saanich farm stands can stay open

Council amending bylaw to allow for temporary use permits

Colwood art centre shuts its doors indefinitely

Board members look for new location when feasible, continue online

Greater Victoria guide dog walk turns to virtual physical challenge

Pet Valu Walk for Dog Guides is May 31 with an online twist

Greater Victoria’s first BC Cannabis Store could open at Saanich shopping centre

Store application for Uptown Shopping Centre headed for public hearing

BC Ferries losing up to $1.5 million each day as pandemic tanks ridership

The company does not qualify for the wage subsidy

Chilliwack school board censures trustee Barry Neufeld after controversial Facebook post

Board chair issues statement on censure but little else regarding Facebook post controversy

Twenty-nine of Canada’s 48 national parks to reopen to day-use visitors June 1

All national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas have been closed for weeks

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

JK Rowling publishes first chapters of new story online

Book will be a fairy tale for kids and benefit those particularly affected by the pandemic

Tahsis opens its gates to visitors to save local economy

Seasonal local businesses that rely on tourism hope to survive despite drop in tourist numbers

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

Island city cancels plan for homeless camp; exploring alternative option

The plan heard strong objection from neighbouring residents and businesses

Most Read