TEHKUMMAH – Thanks to his dog waking him up during the early morning hours, the resident of a house in Tehkummah Township was able to survive a major fire this past Tuesday morning.

“The fire took place at the house owned by Mike Deforge, of Tehkummah,” said Jeff Wilson, fire chief of the Tehkummah township volunteer fire department, on Tuesday. “The fire department was alerted of the blaze at 1:50 am (this past Tuesday, February 23). (Mr. Deforge) was the only one in the house at the time with his dog, who (luckily) woke him up.”

“We’re putting the cause of the fire down to electrical,” stated Mr. Wilson. “It started at the front porch area, where all Mike’s tools are. There was an extension cord with an air compressor and the top of it had completely melted.” 

“When the dog woke him up, Mr. Deforge said there was no smoke in the house, but he saw a red glow out the window overlooking the front porch,” continued Mr. Wilson. “He said it was fully engulfed in flames.”

Mr. Deforge then called 911. Mr. Wilson said that while the front porch and the roof on the southeast part of the house (one corner gone) were destroyed in the blaze there was only extreme water and smoke damage (inside the home) on the main level of the home. “The biggest struggle we had was the dormer at the back of the house. We had to pull the soffit off it just to get in to fight the fire.”

The Tehkummah Fire Department had been the first to respond to the emergency and when Mr. Wilson (who lives in Providence Bay) arrived, “the fire crew were doing good, but we needed more water so we called in Central Manitoulin Fire department for tanker support. (Central Manitoulin) fire chief John (Reid) was concerned how long it would take for the tanker to get to the scene of the blaze and so he called in the Assiginack fire department to help out as well.”

“We were on the scene until 8 am. with Assiginack being on hand until about 6 am and Central Manitoulin fire fighters being there until about 7 am. “We were on hand to put out hot spots (flaring up again),” said Mr. Wilson. He added that Mr. Deforge did have house insurance.