SPRING BAY—A Spring Bay couple’s home was destroyed in a major blaze that took place this past Monday morning.
“Luckily, no one was hurt,” said John Reid, Central Manitoulin municipal fire chief. He explained the house belongs to Frank Fraser and Kelly Gordon. “Mr. (Fraser) had already gone to work in the morning when the fire started. The family dog woke (Kelly) up and that is when she noticed the fire had started.”
Mr. Reid noted that the Central Manitoulin Volunteer Fire Department had been called out to respond at 9:49 am Monday morning, January 22.
“The building is an old farm house with a tin roof, and several additions have been made to it over the years,” said Mr. Reid. “It has balloon construction, which was prevalent in old houses where 2x4s were put in from the basement to the top floor, but when a fire starts in the basement it acts like a chimney and will climb up the building.”
The building was a two-storey house, located at 79 Whitechurch Road. “The flames were going up the corner, there is a deck on it with a small a half crawl space underneath and when I go there flames were burning underneath it (deck). I think the fire started in the basement,” explained Mr. Reid.
“I called the Gore Bay Fire Department for tanker support,” said Mr. Reid, but they were released about an hour later.
Mr. Reid said to help the fire crew douse the blaze the Central Manitoulin municipal backhoe was brought in to pull the pieces of the house apart, making it easier to douse the flames. “The idea is to surround and drown the flames.”
The house was destroyed in the fire, said Mr. Reid. The couple “are staying with family right now.” He pointed out representatives of the Manitoulin Victim Assistance Referral Service were on hand to provide the couple support and assistance.
The couple and their dogs are staying with Kelly’s parents, John and Pam Gordon of Barrie Island. Mr. Gordon told the Recorder on Tuesday, “they don’t know how the fire started. They are staying with us for now. Kelly said that Frank had just gone to work in the morning, and she had lied down, when one of the dogs, Bella, was jumping all over and woke her up. She (Kelly) was in the front room and looking to the back of the house and didn’t see anything. She had to let the dogs out anyway she looked out at the front deck and saw the flames.”
“She got out safe along with the dogs and with a few of her personal things,” said Mr. Gordon, noting the couple has insurance.
“Representatives of VCARS were at the site-the police had called them and provided excellent support, and gave them gift cards and a few things and another lady, Apryl Mayer of the Manitoulin Fire Fund, provided a large basket with things like blankets and other things they need,” said Mr. Gordon.
Rick Niven operator of Buie’s Store in Spring Bay told the Recorder “we have a donation bucket here, as we always do when someone is involved in a fire, where people can help out the couple by dropping off donations.”