‘They lost ev­ery­thing’

Af­ter­noon fire de­stroys home in Dun­staffnage

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY MAU­REEN COUL­TER

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.

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