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Update: Campbellton home destroyed by fire; homeowners appreciate support

Fred Decker lost his home and all of its contents in a fire on Tuesday, but he is still thankful for the efforts of the firefighters from Campbellton and Lewisporte who responded to the blaze in blizzard-like conditions.

Blizzard-like conditions Tuesday wreaked havoc on efforts to respond to a house fire in Campbellton.

Decker told the Pilot that he and his wife Bride had lived in the house for 32 years but they didn’t carry homeowners insurance on the 100-year-old structure.

He says they were lucky to have been able to locate and remove their cat Pepper and dog Sophie from the home before the flames took over. They had all managed to exit the home safely prior to the arrival of the fire departments.

The Decker’s are thankful for all the assistance and the outpouring of support from family, friends and neighbours. They are aware that there are some efforts underway to assist them.

Right now the Decker’s are still trying to come to terms with the massive loss and they appreciate the kindness of those around them.

Earlier posting:

Extreme winter weather Tuesday hampered the efforts of firefighters responding to a house fire in Campbellton.

Campbellton fire Chief Gary Mills said the department got the call to respond to the fire around 12 p.m.

Mills was on vacation at his cabin when the call came in, so he arrived on scene about a half hour later.

He said other members of the fire department had to first get out of their driveways, where snow had built up throughout the morning, to get to the fire hall to gather equipment and head to the scene. But it all happened within 10 minutes of getting the call.

Mills said the two residents were able to safely exit their home. When the fire department arrived on scene, Mills said the fire had already gone up the walls and was in the roof.

While it is thought the fire originated in the basement, Mills preferred not to comment on what he thought had caused the fire.

With 10 members on the fire department, and one away working, Mills said the decision was made to call in Lewisporte Fire Rescue for assistance. That department sent another eight firefighters with equipment to the scene. The fire chief extended appreciation to the neighbouring department for its help.

On scene, the firefighters were met with a driving winter wind and snow.

“Weather played a big role,” Mills said. “There was no way of contending with it. You couldn’t ask for a worse day.”

The house was located close to the water, which meant the wind was blowing hard in that area. It also complicated the response.

 “Our water supply from the water hydrant was directly across the road from the house,” Mills explained. “The smoke made it difficult to see the hydrant and you had to put on a BA (self-contained breathing apparatus) just to check the hydrant.”

At times, the wind carried the water from the hoses away from where it was directed at the fire.

The fire department kept water on a nearby shed and garage to help prevent them from catching fire. These efforts were successful and no other property was damaged.

The house was destroyed, however.

The firefighters ended their efforts response around 4 p.m.

Mills gives credit to the Campbellton and Lewisporte firefighters.

“They did a great job for what they had to contend with,” he said.

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