Fire victims escape with the clothes on their backs
“We are still numb,” said Theresa Bowman Monday morning.
She and her husband, Richard, are still coming to terms with the loss they suffered when fire destroyed their home on Concession 8 at McCrimmon last Wednesday.
“We got out with the clothes on our backs,” said Mrs. Bowman.
Nobody was injured in the blaze that destroyed the log home that dates back to 1865.
“It was our dream home; it had so much character,” said Mrs. Bowman, fighting back tears. She and her husband of 44 years had lived in the hemlock-covered log house for 16 years.
Richard Bowman noticed the fire as he was letting out one of their two dogs. As smoke billowed from an exterior wall, he began ripping off boards, attempting to extinguish the flames with snow.
As the flames spread, he realized his efforts were futile. “Honey, it’s time to get out,” he called to his wife. They took refuge in their car parked nearby. “We sat and watched our house burn down. The car was broken; we couldn’t even get the heater to work,” recalled Mrs. Bowman with a laugh.
“The flames were fully involved” when firefighters arrived at the scene, related The Nation Fire Chief Tobias Hovey.
While their dogs escaped, the Bowmans’ three cats perished in the flames.
About 35 firefighters from The Nation’s StBernardin, St-Isidore and Fournier stations fought the fire with support from the Vankleek Hill station.
“We want to thank all the first responders and all of those who have provided support and prayers,” said Mrs. Bowman. “We have a lot of friends and support and we have insurance.”
They are currently living with their adult daughters in Lancaster and Long Sault until they find a place in Alexandria. The Bowmans are making plans to rebuild.
The exact cause of the fire has not been determined, said Mr. Hovey. He observed that the incident was another reminder of the importance of having smoke detectors, which were activated once the flames broke out.
The Nation firefighters have been busy this year. In the same area this week, they salvaged a garage on North Skye Road where a car burst into flames. A faulty extension cord or block heater is believed to have sparked this incident, the 47th call the department has responded to this year.