Fam­ily fund set up by mayor

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE -

Har­bour Grace Fire Chief Ray Verge says his depart­ment re­ceived a call about the fire at 7:20 p.m. on Feb. 12. Upon ar­riv­ing at the scene of the fire on Har­vey Street, Verge says the en­tire home was en­gulfed in flames. It took fire­fight­ers a num­ber of hours to knock down the blaze.

Brenda, two of her daugh­ters, one of their boyfriends, and Brenda’s 22-month old grand­daugh­ter were in the house when one of the daugh­ters no­ticed some­thing was awry.

“She said there was some­thing burn­ing,” says Brenda, who was in her liv­ing room when the daugh­ter made the an­nounce­ment from up­stairs.

At first, Brenda could not smell any­thing. She ini­tially thought there may have been a prob­lem with the old stove, which had re­cently had some wiring re­placed. Pick­ing up a scent, she even­tu­ally dis­cov­ered smoke com­ing from the dryer. Open­ing the door, she found tow­els in it that were on fire. Brenda threw some flour on the tow­els, which ini­tially put out the flames.

“My daugh­ter was on the back of me say­ing she was go­ing to call the fire depart­ment, and be­fore I got a chance to tell her to for­get about it and say it was out, it went up like a bomb; the whole dryer.”

With that, ev­ery­one left the house, though Brenda says she re­mained by the dryer for a sec­ond, stunned by what was tran­spir­ing be­fore her eyes. For­tu­nately, she suf­fered no burns, but by the time she had left the house, Brenda was al­most ready to pass out be­cause of smoke in­hala­tion.

While grate­ful ev­ery­one made it out of the house alive, the fam­ily did lose its pets, in­clud­ing two dogs.

“I heard the dogs whin­ing, and there was noth­ing I could do,” says Brenda. A cat re­mained miss­ing as of last Thurs­day.

Aside from one of the daugh­ters sav­ing a lap­top, cam­era, and purse, no be­long­ings were sal­vaged from the fire, which caused the most se­vere dam­age on the left side of the house. Last week, Danny was search­ing the home for any keep­sakes that may have sur­vived. His sis­ter, Madonna, was killed in a house fire in 1983.

The home, which ini­tially be­longed to Danny’s mother, had been in­sured for a cou­ple of years, but Brenda says an in­spec­tor later dis­cov­ered prob­lems within it that needed to be ad­dressed. Since then, Brenda says the fam­ily had over­seen be­tween $20,000 and $30,000 worth of ren­o­va­tions and was close to com­plet­ing all the nec­es­sary work to in­sure the home.

“All that had to be done was the roof to sat­isfy in­sur­ance,” says Brenda.

They had also pur­chased sev­eral new fur­ni­ture items within the last year.

A string of bad luck

Brenda suf­fered a back in­jury 10 years ago that af­fected her abil­ity to work, and two years ago she ac­cepted a re­tire­ment pack­age. Danny Crane has been em­ployed on the main­land, and Brenda says most re­cently he has been work­ing odd jobs.

It may be a hard pill to swal­low for the Cranes, but lo­cals are al­ready com­ing to­gether to help the fam­ily out. Har­bour Grace Mayor Don Coombs is chair­ing a com­mit­tee look­ing af­ter a trust fund called the Crane Fam­ily Fire Fund set up with Sco­ti­aBank. The com­mit­tee in­cludes rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Har­bour Grace churches and other res­i­dents of the com­mu­nity.

“Don Coombs has been un­be­liev­able,” says Brenda. “He’s been there from the very be­gin­ning.”

Coombs ar­ranged for the fam­ily to re­ceive help from the Red Cross, and he as­sisted the fam­ily in lo­cat­ing new rental ac­com­mo­da­tions. The com­mit­tee hopes to raise funds to help the Cranes build a new home. Aside from money, the com­mit­tee is look­ing to con­vince lo­cal busi­nesses to do­nate build­ing ma­te­ri­als, which will be han­dled by Town of Har­bour Grace em­ployee Dave Reg­u­lar.

The group is now mak­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion for char­i­ta­ble sta­tus to make do­na­tions tax de­ductible.

Brenda says fam­ily, friends, neigh­bours and even strangers have al­ready of­fered cloth­ing and fur­ni­ture to the fam­ily. A ben­e­fit at the Har­bour Breeze Lounge in Har­bour Grace was sched­uled to take place last Fri­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.