Miscouche woman re­counts es­cape from house fire

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PROVINCE - BY NANCY MACPHEE

“Ev­ery­one keeps telling me ‘you guys are alive, you both got out with­out in­jury’. That’s the most im­por­tant thing. All the stuff in the house doesn’t mean any­thing if you aren’t there to en­joy it.” Kathy Prid­ham

Kathy Prid­ham feels blessed. The Miscouche area woman and her hus­band, Keith, es­caped with just the clothes on their backs and a few per­sonal items af­ter a fire Sun­day morn­ing rav­aged their Camp­bell Road home.

With tens of thou­sands of dol­lars in dam­age to the home, one they built from the ground up and moved into just af­ter Christ­mas 2001, the like­li­hood they will be able to re­turn, ever, is slim.

But, as a grate­ful Kathy put it, a house can be re­built.

“Ev­ery­one keeps telling me ‘you guys are alive, you both got out with­out in­jury’. That’s the most im­por­tant thing,” she said. “All the stuff in the house doesn’t mean any­thing if you aren’t there to en­joy it.”

The cou­ple was in bed Sun­day morn­ing when the fire broke out.

Keith, a light sleeper, woke at 6 a.m., went down­stairs and went back to bed. There was no sign of fire. At 8. Keith woke again, his eyes burn­ing. He went to the base­ment where the air was thick with smoke.

He woke Kathy who im­me­di­ately called for help.

She quickly got dressed, with no time to put on socks, and grabbed her coat, purse and med­i­ca­tion.

Within min­utes the Miscouche Fire Depart­ment ar­rived. The Welling­ton Fire Depart­ment also re­sponded.

“I can’t say enough good stuff about those guys. They were just out­stand­ing,” added Kathy.

The fire’s cause is be­lieved to be elec­tri­cal, start­ing in the base­ment, with the of­fi­cial cause to be de­ter­mined by the pro­vin­cial fire mar­shal.

Af­ter tak­ing in so much smoke, Is­land EMS trans­ported Keith and Kathy to Prince County Hos­pi­tal, where they were checked over and re­leased.

They re­turned home, tem­po­rar­ily, Sun­day evening to find a stench of smoke ev­ery­where and a greasy soot cov­er­ing cloth­ing, fur­ni­ture and most of their be­long­ings. The din­ing room has a hole in the floor, and the room is too un­sta­ble to en­ter.

“It kind of doesn’t hit you un­til later,” said Kathy from a room at the Trav­ellers Inn, where they have been stay­ing.

“To­day is Wed­nes­day, and I am think­ing I can’t even dec­o­rate a cake for my grand­daugh­ter’s birth­day be­cause all my stuff is in the kitchen.”

The cou­ple, who has in­sur­ance, is try­ing to find a fur­nished apart­ment where they can stay un­til the house is re­paired or re­built. If the es­ti­mates come in too high they may de­cide that it is not worth fix­ing.

What­ever the out­come, their Camp­bell Road lot is home, a place with good neigh­bours and fond mem­o­ries.

“We don’t want to be any­where else.”

The Red Cross pro­vided the cou­ple with tem­po­rary hous­ing and vouch­ers for food and cloth­ing. There have also been calls from neigh­bours and of­fers of help from friends, co-work­ers and as­so­ciates.

The out­pour­ing of sup­port has over­whelmed Kathy.

The Prid­hams feel a guardian an­gel was watch­ing over them, get­ting them out of the home safely.

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