Corner Brook musician remembers man killed in cabin fire through song

Paul Hutchings
Published on August 29, 2013

GILLAMS — For Scott Blanchard, a song he wrote about six years ago for a friend has become a means of remembering.

Leroy George of Gillams was killed in a cabin fire in the Bonne Bay Big Pond area off Whitewash Road earlier this month. Blanchard’s song, “A Little Down the Road” has been making the rounds on the Internet and through social media as an anthem of remembrance for those remembering what Blanchard calls “Leroy’s spirit.”

Blanchard, a singer/songwriter from Gillams, recorded “A Little Down the Road” for his 2009 CD, “She’s My Rose,” and he remembers the impact it had on Mr. George.

“He was pretty proud of it,” Blanchard said. “He’d show up wherever I was playing and come right up to the stage and call out, ‘Play me song, Scotty.’ He’d keep that up until I gave in and played it for him.”

Blanchard said he wrote the song for Mr. George when his friend was at a particularly low point in his life. He was experiencing what Blanchard called “family issues” at the time and needed cheering up.

“I thought he was always the one to pick somebody else up, so I just wanted him to know that no matter what, there were people who cared for him,” said Blanchard. “Whenever I felt down or needed someone to talk to or something done he was always there, so I wanted to do the same for him.”

The song’s title came from the fact that people were always looking for Mr. George and Blanchard would say Mr. George was just a “little down the road.”

Mr. George’s funeral was held Monday.

The remains of 50-year-old Irene Barnes and her son, 11-year-old Michael Power were also found in the cabin’s ashes. Their funerals were held in their hometown of Trout River on Tuesday.

Trout River residents have been supporting the family of the deceased by turning inward and resisting opportunities to speak about Barnes and her son.

Mayor Paul Matthews said families have banded together to provide a level of support.

“All the circumstances are nasty in terms of how they’re working through it, there’s a lot of people saying, ‘I could have done this,’ or ‘I could have done that,’ but it’s obviously not a very pleasant circumstance, especially when there was a young boy involved.”

The deaths and the fire’s causes were ruled as undetermined last week by the chief medical examiner and the fire marshall’s office, respectively. Police say the file will not be closed.

The fire started Aug. 5 on Whitewash Road, about 20 kilometres from Route 430.