“When we got there, the house was fully involved,” says fire chief Richard Maranda of the West Nipissing Fire Service. “It’s a complete loss… Fortunately, all of them were out by the time we got there. There’s actually nine people displaced.”
One of the residents, Lise Schram, says she was nodding off in the bedroom that afternoon when suddenly she had to dash for her safety.
“Everybody was outside in the field except me; I was in the house, sick,” she says. “I was kind of falling asleep, I heard noises, opened the door, seen the flames and I ran out… I just got out in the nick of time.”
Firefighters were on scene within 12 minutes of getting the call, but the older farmhouse went up so quickly, they couldn’t save the structure.
“Two minutes after I got out, the doorways to the house were engulfed in flames,” describes Schram.
It took 16 firefighters, from Station 6 in Verner and Station 7 in Lavigne, nearly three hours to get the blaze under control. All the members of the house escaped uninjured. One firefighter at the scene had to be treated for heat exhaustion.