‘They lost everything’
Afternoon fire destroys home in Dunstaffnage
A family has been displaced after a fire destroyed their twostorey home in Dunstaffnage on Thursday.
Firefighters received the call around 4:30 p.m. and arrived to a home fully engulfed in flames.
“At that time we weren’t sure if there was possible entrapment so that heightened our response and everything to a different level,” said Jason Blackman, North Shore Fire Department chief.
He said after speaking with the RCMP and bystanders on the scene, they were able to get in touch with the residents to confirm no one was home.
RCMP, Charlottetown Station 2 and the East River Fire Department also responded to the call.
An RCMP officer was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for smoke inhalation.
Blackman said it took until about 6 p.m. to get the fire under control and that there were no adjacent structures to the home.
Kathy McLellan was driving home from work when she came across a sight that she describes as “unbelievable.”
McLellan, who lives in Donaldston, was one of many Islanders who drove past the house fire on St. Peters Road.
“You could see through the house and feel the heat on the road,” McLellan said in an interview with The Guardian. “My heart broke for them.” McLellan was on St. Peters Road when two RCMP vehicles sped past her near Mel’s PetroCanada. She immediately knew something was wrong.
And then she saw the smoke. “I was gauging where my house was to settle my nerves,” said McLellan.
Ten minutes later, she saw what the police were rushing towards.
“When I drove by, I knew the house would be gone. That wind today just fuelled it.”
McLellan said traffic was slightly backed up coming towards Charlottetown because at that point police were setting up a detour.
“Once you detoured it was just slow traffic,” she said. “They were really quick to ensure the traffic was out of the way and flowing.”
The road was reopened to traffic at about 7:30 p.m.
McLellan said she has seen apartment fires in Charlottetown and flue fires in the country but has never seen a fire this fast and destructive.
“It was unbelievable,” she said.
McLellan said when she got home she couldn’t help but hug her cats, dog and husband Mark and think of the affected family.
“They lost everything. I couldn’t imagine that,” said McLellan.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. The family has been put in contact with the Canadian Red Cross.