$1M blaze mars holiday

$1M blaze mars holiday
By Michelle Allenburg
Welland Tribune
Link to article: $1M blaze mars holiday

Fire and Emergency Services were called to a fire at 51 Woodside Square in Pelham Saturday night.  Michelle Allenberg/Tribune Staff

When Destiny Locking, her husband Denis Guillemette and son Hunter returned home Saturday night after a walk, they were devastated to find their Pelham home ablaze.

Locking, a veterinarian at Port Colborne Animal Hospital, stood in front of her home at 51 Woodside Square Sunday morning, tears streaming down her face.

A group of neighbours surrounded her, trying to bring comfort to the mother of one.

Locking said the fire has been awful for her family and she is devastated that their two pets died in the fire.

Friend Donna Wager said the pets were “beautiful dogs” named Bea and Molly.

“She’s taken the death of her dogs really hard,” Wager said.

For Locking, the fire is a reminder to people that material things don’t matter, it’s your loved ones and pets that are most important. She said everyone should make a point to hug the people and animals they love, and tell them they are loved.

While standing in front of what had been her home for 10 years, people stopped by with gifts knowing the family had lost everything in the fire right before Christmas.

Locking said a number of people had given them presents so they had something for Christmas on Monday. She said it goes to show that people are generous and caring during difficult times.

Pelham Fire Services Chief Bob Lymburner, who spoke to the family after the fire, said they were doing well considering what happened.

“This will be a long road to recovery for them,” he said.

Wager said the community has been so supportive of the family. People donated gifts for Hunter, who Wager said is nine or 10.

“They are giving away some of the gifts — they will donate them to the St. Catharines children’s cancer ward,” Wager said.

Wager started a Go Fund Me page to help the family get back on their feet after losing everything. Wager said she started the page at $1,000, but soon changed it to $10,000 because the response had been so positive.

“They are a family with a really big heart. Destiny is saying that they don’t need the help … She will likely donate some money to an animal shelter.”

People can donate by visiting www.gofundme.com/lockingguillemette-fire-fund.

The fire Saturday evening caused more than $1 million in damages.

Pelham firefighters were dispatched to the home at 8:20 p.m. Lymburner said no one was in the two-storey home when the fire started.

Due to the extensive damage, Lymburner said firefighters are unable to determine the cause of the blaze, but said it is not deemed to be suspicious.

The house will likely be demolished, and the chief said the homeowner’s insurance company may investigate. He said the house is unsafe to enter, so a cause may not be determined.

About 30 firefighters, with five fire trucks, got the fire under control by 10 p.m., and had the blaze extinguished by 1 a.m.

Lymburner said because the house was a newer home it was more challenging to control the fire.

Newer homes are built using more synthetic materials, plastic and engineered wood, and Lymburner said that makes it easier for the fire to spread.

He also said the new style of having open concept homes allows fires to spread more easily throughout a building. In older homes, there are more walls that would provide an obstacle for fires to spread.

The family of three is staying with relatives.

<back to Headlines