Fire levels Verner home, but residents safe thanks to good Samaritans


A Verner family is thankful to be alive after an early morning fire on Jan. 24 destroyed their home.

West Nipissing Fire Service received a call about a garage fire around 4:52 a.m. that morning. But by the time they arrived on scene, the fire had spread quickly into the attic of the home. 

“When the first driver left the station, he could see an orange glow in sky,” says WN Fire Chief Richard Maranda. “I got there around 5:30, and you couldn’t even see across the highway… the smoke was so intense. It was quite big when we got there.”

According to the fire department, because the blaze spread from the garage to the attic through a carport, the house’s smoke detectors didn’t alert the residents to signs of trouble.

“The smoke alarms wouldn’t have activated because the fire was in the attic,” says Maranda. “If there’s no smoke within the household, the alarm won’t detect it.”

Fortunately, some early risers heading to work saw the fire and they were able to alert the family by banging on their windows. All the residents and pets in the house were able to escape without injury. 

The identity of these helpful passers-by remains unknown to both the fire department and the family. Though the family did not wish to speak to the Tribune about the incident, they did send out a thank you to all involved in helping with the fire on a Verner Facebook group page.

“If it wasn’t for the two gentlemen that woke us up by banging on our window, we would not be here right now,” wrote Anik Leclair. “We are not sure who they are but would like to thank them from the bottom of our hearts for saving our lives! You are true angels! No amount of thanks will ever be enough. A big thanks as well to the fire dept and volunteers for doing their best to extinguish the blaze.”

The house was completely totaled by the fire. Three stations responded to the call and around 20 firefighters were on scene until that afternoon. 

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