'Long road to recovery': Family, friends rally around Renfrew burn victims

'Long road to recovery': Family, friends rally around Renfrew burn victims

An online campaign has been launched to help two Renfrew residents who suffered serious burns in a late morning house fire apparently related to a natural gas explosion on Mary Street Oct. 30.

The fire at 403 Mary Ave. and fear of a gas leak caused a temporary afternoon evacuation of the area in the west end of town.
Tanya Lepine has set up the GoFundMe account for Mark and Sherry Cruise, who are both scheduled for major surgery this week after their home and most of their belongings were destroyed in the fire (fortunately, their dog was saved). She said Sherry, who was transported to hospital in Renfrew in critical condition then taken by helicopter to a burn unit in Toronto, has a particularly “long road to recovery” ahead of her. Mark is in stable condition in an Ottawa hospital.
“The financial burden of travelling and them rebuilding their entire life is a struggle they now face,” said Lepine on the GoFundMe page. Noting the Cruises do not have home insurance, she said: “We would appreciate as their family, any donations to assist this family.”
As of Tuesday morning, $2,070 had been raised from 32 donors. The link is www.gofundme.com/mark-and-sherry-cruise.
The blaze is considered to be an “unconfirmed explosion,” said OPP spokesperson Const. Janice Sawbridge. The Office of the Ontario Fire Marshall was called in to investigate the cause of the fire, with assistance from the Renfrew fire department and the OPP.
Renfrew county chief paramedic Michael Nolan said by the time paramedics arrived on the scene the couple had exited the home on their own but in obvious distress. “Comments by the patients were made as to there being an explosion,” Nolan said. “And there was a strong odour of gas in the air.”
Enbridge Gas attended to deal with the gas leak and an evacuation order was issued for the neighbourhood until the leak was fixed. Residents in the area were asked to open their windows and evacuate to the Ma-Te-Way Activity Centre.
The order was lifted and the all-clear given at 6:25 p.m. (the fire was first reported at 11:49 a.m.).
Firefighters from both the town and Horton battled the blaze. Several OPP officers also attended the fire, pushing back the crowd of 30 or more to Blake Street on one side. At least 20 more observers were on Tupper Street. Some were hugging and consoling each other.
No other homes in the area appeared under threat as the Renfrew fire department’s aerial truck arrived to attack the flames from above.
Another house fire on the same street on Feb. 10, 2017 claimed the life of an elderly woman.