Burned out in Clarke’s Beach

Fam­ily loses every­thing as cen­tury-old home goes up in flames


Po­lice and fire of­fi­cials are sus­pect­ing an elec­tri­cal mal­func­tion as the cause of a blaze that gut­ted a cen­tu­ry­old dwelling and left a fam­ily home­less in Clarke’s Beach on Mon­day, Oct. 31.

The fire started not long af­ter 9 a.m., and quickly en­gulfed the two-storey home, which is lo­cated on Glam Road, at the in­ter­sec­tion to Bar­lett’s Road.

All was nor­mal as Robert and An­nie Red­ford, who were rent­ing the home from Robert’s em­ployer, John Bar­lett, left for work that morn­ing. Their 11year-old daugh­ter, Feli­cia, had stayed with her grand­par­ents in Makin­sons the night be­fore, and An­nie‘s 16-yearold daugh­ter, Am­ber, was in St. John’s with her fa­ther.

Robert said he re­ceived a call from John Bartlett, who also lives on Bartlett’s Road, at about 9:20 a.m., say­ing the house was on fire.

By the time the Red­monds ar­rived, flames were surg­ing from the house and smoke bil­lowed into the sky, fanned by high winds from the north. Vol­un­teers with the Bay de Grave fire depart­ment were al­ready at­tack­ing the fire, but it was too late.

“We knew every­thing was gone by then,” An­nie, still filled with emo­tion, said the next morn­ing as she sur­veyed the de­struc­tion.

No in­sur­ance

The Red­monds did not have ten­ant’s in­sur­ance, and de­scribed their loss as dev­as­tat­ing.

“Every­thing we owned is gone,” said Robert, adding that he re­grets not in­sur­ing their be­long­ings.

“It’s not like I have a pile of money in the bank. I’m just pay­cheque to pay­cheque. I work 60 hours a week. That’s my life. I work and come home to my fam­ily.”

The fam­ily’s four cats per­ished in the fire, in­clud­ing Mid­night, Feli­cia’s cat.

“They were part of our fam­ily,” Robert added.

The fam­ily re­lo­cated from the St. John’s area to Con­cep­tion Bay North about three years ago, and had been rent­ing the house for about a year. Robert was en­joy­ing his job as a me­chanic at Bartlett’s Irv­ing in Bay Roberts, and their lives were start­ing to get on track.

“You couldn’t ask for bet­ter peo­ple to work for,” said Robert.

An­nie has epilepsy, and had just re­cently been cleared to re­turn to work for the first time in about a decade.

They were mak­ing plans to do some up­grades to the house, and were start­ing to feel at home in Clarke’s Beach.

Now they have to start over, but have been amazed by the sup­port they have re­ceived.

The Sal­va­tion Army and the Cana­dian Red Cross have given as­sis­tance, and there have been nu­mer­ous other cases of gen­eros­ity.

“We’ve got friends and peo­ple that we never re­ally knew who are reach­ing out to us, and that means the world,” said An­nie.

The fam­ily lost all their most trea­sured pos­ses­sions, in­clud­ing fam­ily pho­tos.

“Peo­ple ask you to put a price on what you had, but you can’t,” said Robert. “When it hap­pens to you ... it hits you hard.”

The Red­monds have been liv­ing with Robert’s par­ents in Makin­sons, but are hop­ing to find new ac­com­mo­da­tions as soon as pos­si­ble.

“We’re go­ing to make it,” stated An­nie. “My mother didn’t raise a quit­ter.”

Clarke’s Beach res­i­dents Robert and An­nie Red­mond walk past the burned- out house they were rent­ing on Glam Road. The cen­tu­ry­old struc­ture was gut­ted by fire on Oct. 31.

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