Couple in shock over loss of home

Frank Gale
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There is little left of Andre and Michelle Jesso’s Three Rock Cove home, which burned to the ground on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013.

THREE ROCK COVE — A fire that destroyed a house in Three Rock Cove Tuesday afternoon has left the owners devastated and trying to figure out what to do next.

Andre Jesso said he and his wife Michelle had left around 11 a.m. Tuesday to go cut firewood. Upon their return, they were surprised when they couldn’t see their house from a spot where they normally could.

As they approached, the first thing they saw was a firefighter. They were shocked to see there was nothing left of the home.

“It was a total loss and gone right to the bricks (brick foundation),” Andre said. “Whatever happened, happened very quick.”

A neighbour told him the two-storey house, which measured 64 by 38 feet, had burned within a hour.

Mayor Henry Gaudon of Lourdes, who is also a member of the regional volunteer fire department, attended the scene with fellow firefighters, but were too late.

Gaudon said the department received the call in the early afternoon and arrived on scene about 15 minutes later, but the house had already burned to the ground.

With winds blowing about 80 km/hr at the time, firefighters had to brace themselves just to stand up. Had there been any of the house left, it would have been almost impossible to fight the fire anyway, Gaudon said.

“There was really no fire to fight, what was left was like burnt kindling in the bottom of a stove.”

Jesso said the house was built in 2001 and was in perfect shape. Just last year he added a large deck, which was the only thing left standing.

An experienced carpenter and woodworker, Jesso finished the inside of the home with pine and did all his own cabinetry and built-in furniture. The house had a spiral staircase and some antiques the couple had collected; some up to 200 years old. The centre of the house had a 20-foot ceiling where, each Christmas, the Jessos would put a 16-foot tree.

The home was insured.

“What hurts the most are things that can’t be replaced like wedding photos, pictures of the grandkids and different stuff they drew for us,” said Jesso.

He said Michelle is having a hard time with the loss, but he thinks of it as just a house. He’s relieved the fire happened during the daytime because, had it been in the nighttime when they were sleeping, the couple might not have got out in time.

Police investigators were on the scene Wednesday, and Const. Dave Cook of the Bay St. George RCMP said there was no cause determined as of the afternoon.

Jesso said the 20-acre lot of land included lots of room for his grandkids to play, so they will likely rebuild at the same location.

He and his wife, who are both fish harvesters, were staying at their daughter’s home in Kippens on Wednesday, but want to get back to Three Rock Cove to prepare their fishing gear for the upcoming season.

Geographic location: Kippens

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Recent comments

  • Stephenviller
    February 15, 2013 - 18:27

    It bothers me that folks harp on Stephenville Fire Department for not responding to calls outside their jusidiction. What people should recognize is that indivduals living in Stephenville pay for and depend on fire service, if our department is out answering a call in Picadilly or another location it leaves all of those who are paying for the service vulnerable. If you are worried about fire protection in your area you should contact your local MP, if fire departments had the funds to hire enough staff to cover a larger area there wouldn't be issues with response time and responsibility. Home owners that expect fire protection should also expect that they will see an increase in tax, which is reasonable and worth the piece of mind.

  • Nicole
    February 14, 2013 - 18:31

    Sad to see I can only imagine what u r going thru right now lucky noone was hurt. Thou it doesnt surprise me that the fire dept didnt show up in time. I remember when I lived home and my neighbours home was on fire (in Piccadilly) I called lourdes, port-au-pot and stephenville fire department and all 3 REFUSED to show up because we lived in Piccadilly and its not in their juristriction yet Piccadilly has no fire dept. The RCMP finally made one of the fire depts come to the scene. The last wall of the home was caving in as they pulled in....nedless to say it was too late then.

  • Christine Jesso
    February 14, 2013 - 09:19

    I am devastated to see that of the scariest days of my life receiving that phone call and not knowing whether my parents were in the house or not. Thankfully, everyone is safe, but the loss of a family home is still hard news to bare.

    • Mr Underwood
      July 08, 2013 - 23:11

      Or bear, even.