Thursday, July 9, 2009

"Family counts their blessings after fire destroys home" Another article, yet far more acurate and personal, about the fire.

Amy Northmore Allen is thanking her lucky stars she and her family are safe after a fire destroyed most of their house on Chatham Street on Friday night.
Northmore Allen and her daughters Kendra, 16, and Marla, 14, weren’t home when the fire started around 5 p.m., July 3. They had recently bought the circa 1912 house at 104 Chatham St. and were in the midst of restoring it to its former glory, a painstaking process ongoing since March.
It’s a pretty house that passersby might recall, the one with an overabundance of roses climbing up the front porch.
The fire was discovered by a neighbour who noticed smoke coming out of the windows. He went around to the back of the house and opened a door and was met by flames. He ran next door and the homeowners called 911.
Firefighters were on the scene within five minutes.
“My mantra is when I start to spiral down and start to cry and get really upset about all the work that I’ve done, I just think that it could have been me in the house, it could have been the girls and we’re still alive,” says Northmore Allen.
She was at work when she got a call from her mortgage broker who told her that her house was on fire.
“I dropped the phone and came over here. It was just mayhem on the street and I lost it. It was a nightmare. I cried a lot, we’ve cried a lot,” she says.
Nellie, the family cat, escaped to the roof after the window shattered from the heat and a neighbour was able to entice her to come down. A hamster was rescued from the basement by firefighters.
The house has been a labour of love for the family and they had almost completed the transformation.
“I was almost ready to reveal the before and after and for it to just all go up in smoke, you have to put it in perspective,” says Northmore Allen. “I could be in the burn unit or not even here.”
An earlier media report that said there were no belongings in the house was wrong, says Northmore Allen. She says everything they owned was in there and they have nothing but the clothes on their back.
Marla, a soft spoken girl, is still in shock and having a hard time dealing with the loss of personal things, including a baby calendar with photos of her as a baby. She burst into tears as she tried to express her sense of loss and her mother reached to comfort her.

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