With a gentle brush of her hand she reaches up to wipe the tears from her eyes. As she does she says a simple thank you for the expression of sympathy at her loss, but adds she can’t talk about it right now.
What lays in front of her is the ruins of her home, a house that was built 11 years ago in an almost secluded area at the end of Lakeview Road in Massey Drive. Behind it are trees, to the left a rock embankment that leads to more trees. To the right is Link Pond.
From the well-manicured grass, shrubs and flowers around the front and the stone driveway leading up to the brick exterior, it’s clear a lot of effort went into building the home.
In less than two hours on Monday evening the home was destroyed by fire, but despite the devastation the setting around still offers up a feeling of tranquility.
Wayne Giles is the chief of the town’s volunteer fire department.
He said the fire call was received at the department at about 5:45 p.m.
Within three minutes, six members of the department were on the scene. They would be joined by six more.
There was no one inside the home when firefighters arrived, but Giles wasn’t sure if anyone was at home when the fire started.
“When we arrived there was fire showing through the gable end of the house and the roof was smoking,” said Giles.
“This is the biggest fire that we’ve had,” the 11-year veteran said, adding, “It’s probably been about 17 years since we had an actual structure fire here.”
But Giles said with new home construction fires can really take off quickly and it wasn’t long before the fire breached the roof of the home.
Giles knew then that he had to call for help and turned to the Corner Brook Fire Department.
“We had them come up with the aerial,” said Giles.
Chief Neville Wheaton of the Corner Brook Fire Department said the aerial ladder truck provided an elevated master stream of water.
“So that we can get actually at it from the roof. Because when our fellows showed up here it was actually out through the roof at the time, so you needed an elevated master stream to get over the top and down inside the building.”
Wheaton said the call for assistance came in at 6:11 p.m. The department initially responded with one crew but due to the size of the dwelling a second crew had to be called in and dispatched to the scene. In total 14 city firefighters were on the scene.
Because the fire was outside the city’s jurisdiction a third crew had to remain at the station.
Wheaton said it’s not often that his department gets called out like it did Monday evening. “Most of the times we do get called out it’s for the extra manpower if it’s an extended period of time. Or it’s for the ladder truck, or pumping capacity. We have larger pumpers than most people around us.”
That larger pumping capacity created a bit of a challenge on the scene.
“We’re using high volume feed lines, so we had to get the pressure boosted by the Massey Drive public works people.”
Another concern was the possibility of propane being located inside the structure, however, Wheaton said they were able to confirm the propane was outside the building.
The fire generated a lot of interest as people gathered on the rock embankment above it and along Lakeview Drive and the main road of Massey Drive to watch.
At just after 7:30 p.m. Giles felt the firefighters had done their job.
“It’s under control right now, just giving it another good going over with water and foam and they’ll be monitoring the situation,” he said.
Giles said he did not know what caused the fire and that once his crews were sure the fire was completely out that the scene would be turned over to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for investigation.