Grieving family awaits bad news
Ottawa man believed to have perished in cottage fire
The parents of an Ottawa man have tried everything in their power to get their son’s dental records to confirm what they already know — it was the remains of their son found in the rubble of their burned out cottage last weekend.
“We tried everything we could to have that happen,” said Brian Braceland. “We need finality. We need some release. We need some comfort.”
His son, Michael Braceland, 37, went to the family’s Madawaska Valley Township area cottage on Dec. 20. His car was still outside the cottage when emergency crews arrived.
The burned down cottage was discovered Dec. 22 when Braceland’s cousin went to check on his own cottage a few lots over.
Several cottages didn’t have power, but he saw “glowing embers” a few lots over, Braceland’s mother, Gail, said Thursday.
“He went over and the cottage was just gone,” she said. “There’s nothing standing. It’s just the chimney.”
When Braceland’s cousin called 911 at about 8:30 a.m., he didn’t know that Michael had been at the cottage since the day before.
Gail Braceland said she called the OPP after learning of the fire to report that her son had been at the cottage.
Later that same night, the OPP’s Renfrew County crime unit and Ontario Fire Marshall investigators found remains in the burned out cottage. But without Braceland’s dental records, they won’t know for sure it was Michael’s remains found inside the cottage.
But they have had no luck in getting the dental records because the office is closed for the holidays.
Brian Braceland said Thursday he would have liked more help in getting his son’s dental records.
Meanwhile, the family continues to struggle with the death of a devoted father, son and brother.
“I keep expecting him to walk in the door and say, ‘Sorry I missed dinner,’ ” Gail Braceland said.
The cottage, which has been in the family for decades, was one of Braceland’s “favourite places on earth” to rest and relax, his mother said.
Several other family members have cottages along the same road, which is how it came to be named Braceland Lane.
Braceland worked as a chef at The Pine Restaurant in Ottawa’s Monterey Hotel. He was looking for a new job because the restaurant planned to lay off salaried employees.
Braceland loved to cook lasagna for his 16 year-old son, Riley, who has stayed with his grandparents since he got the news.
“It’s very, very tough, but we’ve had a lot of support from family and friends,” Gail Braceland said. “Michael has a Facebook page that we’ve been looking at and there’s been lovely messages on that. It’s really comforting.”
Gail Braceland described her son as a funny man with a good sense of humour.
He had a lot of friends and played hockey and enjoyed skiing when he was a child.
At the cottage, he was always cooking up something on the barbecue, his mother said.
Back in Ottawa, he often cooked in his mother’s kitchen because it was bigger than his, she said.
“He was always complaining my knives weren’t sharp enough,” Gail Braceland said.