Blaze destroys Manitowaning family home

MANITOWANING—Fire struck a family residence on the morning of Wednesday, February 4, completely destroying a family home on Highway 6. Luckily, although the family was not home at the time of the fire, all the family pets were reported safe.

“On Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 9:46 am the Assiginack Fire Department was dispatched for a report of heavy smoke at a residence south on Manitowaning on Hwy 6,” reported Assiginack Fire Department Captain Dwayne Elliott. “Fire crews arrived on scene at 9:51 am to find an older three-story residential structure fully involved with heavy smoke and flames showing from the second and third story.”

According to Mr. Elliott, mutual aid was immediately activated and the Wikwemikong Fire Department responded to assist in providing a water supply through tanker shuttle.

Mr. Elliott reported that there are no reports of injuries as a result of this fire and no surrounding buildings were damaged in the fire.

The property loss was substantial, however, as the residence was completely destroyed and damages have been valued at over $400,000.

“The house was originally built in 1870s, but we had renovated and built on, it was in the final stages,” said Ms. Case. “But thankfully, everybody is safe.”

Ms. Case and her husband Mike Phillips have two children, boys aged 10 and 12 years, and they have lived in the home for about 14 years. “This is the only home they have ever known,” said Ms. Case.

The community support the couple have received since the day of the fire has been “overwhelming,” according to Ms. Case. “Especially for our kids, everyone has been very supportive. We are so very grateful to the community for all they have done for us.” The small town rallying started even as the flames and smoke were rising into the sky. “My husband was just commenting that this is the great thing about living in a small community,” she said.

The couple was insured, but they are discovering what most people only learn when they start looking at their policy. “We were way low on the content insurance,” admitted Ms. Case. “You don’t really think about it before this happens.”

It is the loss of personal items that really strikes hard. “I don’t really wear jewellery,” said Ms. Case, “so all of mine was in the fire. My husband’s guns were in the basement.” The loss of countless items of sentimental value that no amount of insurance can replace is just starting to hit home for the couple and their children.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

“Our department would like to thank all the people who helped and those that supplied us with food and beverages during this fire,” said Mr. Elliott of the immediate community response. “Your support is greatly appreciated.”

Donations for the family are being accepted at 35 Napier St. in Manitowaning or by calling 705-859-3304.