M’Chigeeng First Nation family loses home in major fire April 13

A grease fire that started in the kitchen of the residence of Georgia Debassige and her husband Sheldon Bondy in M’Chigeeng First Nation April 13 left the family without their home. Fortunately, the family was able to get out of the home safely.

M’CHIGEENG—Fortunately, a M’Chigeeng First Nation family was able to get out of their home safely after a major fire that ultimately destroyed their house on Wednesday, April 13.

“We received a call to a structure fire at 3:30 pm on (April 13) at 47 Bay Street in M’Chigeeng,” said Eli Fox, fire chief of the M’Chigeeng volunteer fire department. “The majority of the house was already down when we arrived and there was extensive smoke damage on the north side of the building,” he explained, noting that the kitchen and living room areas had sustained the bulk of the damage.

“The residents of the home were in the structure at the time of the fire but fortunately the entire family  managed to get out of the house unharmed,” Mr. Fox told The Expositor. “And once they got out of the house, the emergency medical services were on hand to help them. The family was able to salvage a few items, but the kitchen and living rooms were adjoining and there was nothing left of them. These rooms were burnt out from the inside.”

Fire chief Fox explained the cause of the fire, “was a grease fire. They were cooking food in the kitchen when the grease took fire and spread very quickly.”

Georgia Debassige and her husband Sheldon Bondy, along with their four-year-old son MacKenzie Bondy were residing in the home. Ms. Debassige told The Expositor the fire was, “a grease fire. We were cooking fries and pogos on the stove when the grease started to spew out and spread. It seemed we got everything under control and then the grease started to spread again on the stove, and it got very smoky and became too hard to get the fire out. Sheldon kept trying to put it out, but we had to get out.”

“I didn’t even have time to grab my cell phone,” said Ms. Debassige. “It was a really old house. It had been built in the 1960s by my auntie, and we were renting the house from my grandmother Lillian (Debassige).”

“We are now living with my grandmother,” Ms. Debassige told The Expositor. The couple didn’t have contents insurance. However, “we have received a lot of support and donations from people. We are so grateful for everyone’s help. Everyone has been so kind. I can’t believe how many people have come forward and offered donations or help. It has been like a light to see how nice people have been and have helped out. We are very grateful.”

“We had a really good response with many of our firefighters on the scene,” said Mr. Fox. He added that it was raining outside at the time of the fire, “and the rain helped stifle the fire.” 

Along with EMS on the scene to help assist the family, Cancom Security was also there to provide traffic management.” It took firefighters about three hours to put out the blaze.