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.
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.