Siblings each lose their home in suspicious fires at Pleasant Valley and Misery Bay

The Ontario Provincial Police and Ontario Fire Marshal are investigating two Friday evening fires that occurred at the homes of siblings in the West End. In photo left, a fire on Nelson Road in Pleasant Valley, Gordon, still smoulders on Sunday while in photo right, police guard the Highway 540 property, located just west of Misery Bay. Both homes were declared total losses by fire crews. Thankfully, no one was home at the time of either of the fires. photos by Alicia McCutcheon

Firefighters called to both fires Friday

UPDATED: OPP charge man with three counts of arson

MANITOULIN – Two Manitoulin homes belonging to members of the Hore family burned down this past weekend, leaving two families—including one with a newborn premature child—scrambling to recover in the aftermath. 

“We’re pretty shook up,” said Lily Hore, a sister to the victims during a Monday interview with this newspaper, especially as the fires are being investigated as suspicious. The homes are owned by her siblings Donald Hore and Daisy Hore.

Lily Hore noted that her brother Donald was in southern Ontario at the time of the fire, where he has been since the birth of his son Prince with his partner Auzza Kay. Born premature, Prince has been at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto but is steadily gaining ground, his aunt is happy to report.

Daisy, her partner Jesse Goulais and daughter Autumn are currently stationed at the Hore family home in Evansville.

The Pleasant Valley residence of Donald Hore did not hold insurance and it is unclear at this time whether the Elizabeth Bay property was insured.

Robinson Township Fire Chief Doug Wismer told The Expositor he received a call from 9-1-1 dispatch at 6:20 pm Friday evening. A passerby on Highway 540 reported seeing the home, located just west of Misery Bay, which housed Daisy Hore and her family, fully engulfed.

“The building was levelled to about four feet high—there were no standing walls left,” Mr. Wismer said. “It had been burning for quite some time.”

Mr. Wismer said he and his crew of six firefighters stayed on the scene until around 9 pm when they ran out of water. The Robinson crew did not have the manpower to both fight the fire and fill another tanker, he explained. 

The fire chief said the home was a total loss by the time they had arrived and was fully contained by the snow surrounding it, so “we left it to burn right down. We couldn’t have done anything anyway.”

There was no one home at the time of the blaze. 

The other home that burned later that evening was located in the Pleasant Valley area of the Township of Gordon/Barrie Island and was owned by Donald Hore. 

Gore Bay Fire Chief Mike Addison said the fire department was called to a structure fire at 9:55 pm on Friday, February 28. By the time the firefighters arrived at the scene, the house was fully engaged.

“It’s gone,” said the fire chief. “It was gone when we got there. We put water on it when we got there, but there was no way to save the building.”

While engaging the fire, the firefighters spotted a number of footprints in the snow around the house. “We determined that there were fresh footprints into the home,” said Mr. Addison. “We found it to be suspicious so we contacted the (Ontario Provincial Police).”

The OPP came to the house and secured the area.

“After they had sealed it off, we couldn’t even get in there again,” said Mr. Addison.

The Expositor asked the OPP whether the two fires might be connected.

“The two fires are under investigation and at this point, nothing is being ruled out,” said Manitoulin Detachment community services officer Constable Marie Ford.

She urged the public to come forward either to the OPP or Crime Stoppers with any information they might have.

The Manitoulin Island community has already begun to step forward with relief for the victims, with many offers of support being shared online in the hours and days that followed the fires.

A BMO bank account has been set up for the siblings and their families. Donations can be made to bank account number 2342 8975-468 with all money being distributed evenly between the families of Donald and Daisy Hore or e-transferred to nanabell1@hotmail.com. A list of needed items has also been made available by the family which includes: toddler girl clothes, 18 months and up; toddler girl shoes; toys for small kids; diapers, size 3 or 4; sippy cups and bottles; women’s size small clothing; men’s size medium to large clothing; infant boy clothing, newborn and up; newborn diapers, baby boy everything (everything was in the fire for the newborn including crib, car seat, etc.); men’s large clothing; and women’s size XL and up clothing.

“People have already been very generous,” Lily said. “It’s really, really nice to have so many kind people in this community—even on the other side of the Island too.”

“Thank you for all the donations,” Lily said on behalf of the family. “We really, really appreciate everything and all of the support.”

Anyone with information about these fires should immediately contact the Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122 or their nearest police authority. 

Should you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or submit information online at to SudburyCrimeStoppers.com where you may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $2,000.