Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver

Community rallies around local carpenter Rob Allen after house fire

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Rob Allen – our neighbour, volunteer and contractor at Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH) –lost everything in a house fire early May. “I’m OK and so is the guy from downstairs!” he writes in an email.

Actually, he heroically saved his downstairs neighbour’s life by crawling through a smoky, burning basement and dragging him out of the blaze.

Rob lost everything in the fire. But as one friend said, quoting her parent’s wisdom, “Everything is replaceable except for you!” We’re grateful Rob is safe.

A talented carpenter by trade, Rob has worked on many projects around the neighbourhood and privately for folks who need woodworking help. Rob is a dedicated community volunteer who has spent many hours working on cultural infrastructure planning, making bird and bee houses in community workshops, teaching woodworking to homeschooling families and working with the city on dialogue around community representation. He also initiated the local Conversation Cafés.

His hearty chuckle and dedication to making the neighbourhood a better place – alongside his ability to see the positive in everything, including his own situation – is inspiring.

People at CNH and around the community have expressed a desire to help Rob. His partner has set up a GoFundMe page where you can donate online ( – thanks to all of you who have already donated.

If anyone has woodworking tools they don’t need anymore, he is happy to accept them as donations, as he plans to do more woodworking workshops for beginner DIYers.

You are welcome to drop off monetary donations to Collingwood Neighbourhood House, 5288 Joyce Street, by Friday, June 2, attention Sally. You can also drop off tool donations at the reception.

Rob is overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the people around him and the community support has been important in helping him though this disaster with grace.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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