Cabin users es­cape blaze

Four decades of mem­o­ries and end­less card games go up in smoke

The Compass - - NEWS - BY TERRY ROBERTS wcn-edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

John Will Mutrey was nap­ping on the couch while the four ladies, as usual, were play­ing cards at the kitchen ta­ble.

But the re­lax­ation and en­joy­ment came to a quick end Satur­day morn­ing, July 3 when the cabin they were in on Line Road, Car­bon­ear sud­denly caught fire and even­tu­ally burned flat to the ground.

Mutrey could joke about the in­ci­dent by Mon­day, quip­ping that the ladies - his wife Rose, daugh­ters Mar­garet Craw­ford and Agnes Pen­ney, and Rose’s sis­ter, Agnes Reynolds - were more concerned about los­ing their cards and a pot of money on the ta­ble. But the 77-year-old ad­mit­ted it could have been much worse.

“If it had been dur­ing the night and we had all been asleep, we wouldn’t be talk­ing. We’d all be dead,” Mutrey said.

The drama be­gan just af­ter 11 a.m. Mutrey does not play cards, so he was rest­ing qui­etly, lulled by the heat from the fire in the wood­stove. The four ladies were laugh­ing and ar­gu­ing at the ta­ble.

“ Some­one yelled ‘ fire!’ and we all got out as fast as we could,” Mutrey re­counted.

In min­utes, he said, the cabin was filled with smoke and flames were shoot­ing out through the eaves. He tried to douse the fire with a bucket of wa­ter, but his ef­forts were fu­tile.

“ There was no way to save it,” he said, not­ing that the cabin had a “dou­ble roof,” and the fire was deep in­side.

Some 20 vol­un­teers with the Car­bon­ear vol­un­teer fire depart­ment re­sponded with two pumper trucks and a res­cue unit. It took more than two hours to snuff out the blaze, said Capt. Jeff Squibb. Two nearby travel trail­ers were also spared.

Squibb said the area is heav­ily forested, and the fire could eas­ily have been much worse. He s a id an overnight down­pour of rain had soaked the area, and the winds were very light. And with­out a nearby sup­ply of wa­ter, the depart­ment had to truck wa­ter to the scene.

Squibb said there are about 50 cabins in the im­me­di­ate area.

It’s be­lieved the fire started in the at­tic, and was likely caused by the wood­stove, said Squibb.

He cau­tioned cabin own­ers to rou­tinely in­spect their chim­ney and stove, and keep a spe­cial eye out for nests that birds and other an­i­mals may build in the chim­ney.

Mean­while, Mutrey and the oth­ers could only watch as 40 years of mem­o­ries and good times went up in flames. All they man­aged to save was a generator and a can of gas, and three purses.

Rose Reynolds owned the cabin, and it was a favourite des­ti­na­tion each week­end be­tween April and Septem­ber.

The play­ing cards were on the ta­ble nearly ev­ery wak­ing hour, Mutrey com­mented.

“ They played from Fri­day evening to Sun­day night. I used to drive them in, get the fire go­ing and then I’d bring in wa­ter and get some wood for them. Then I’d come home. It’s qui­eter home.

“Some­times there were up to eight of ‘em play­ing cards. They’d give up two or three in the morn­ing. Then they’d eat break­fast and start play­ing again. That was not for me.”

They haven’t de­cided if they will re­build.

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