Miscouche woman recounts escape from house fire
“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.