A family has been left homeless after a fire engulfed a Southside home Friday afternoon.
“It’s good to have your life but everything you lose is the hard part to take,” said Peggy Issac. “You lose everything.”
The only thing save – the wooden urn containing the ashes of Nick Shewchuk’s wife Violet, who passed away last June.
The fire started in a home on Simpson Street at around 1 p.m. Friday afternoon. Peggy and her boyfriend Jeff Shewchuk had just arrived home from downtown when they saw the smoke coming out of their home. Revelstoke Fire & Rescue Services was called and they arrived on scene with about 10 members.
At first the call was a rescue mission since the whereabouts of Jeff’s father Nick was unknown. Fortunately, he was quickly found in a room behind the neighbouring garage, turning the call into an attack mission for the fire department.
More firefighters joined the battle after returning from a motor vehicle accident, increasing their numbers to closer to 20, said fire chief Rob Girard. It took about 1.5 hours to extinguish the blaze.
“When I showed up it was pluming out of the house. It was going,” he said. “This is an excellent save.”
The exterior of the house appeared to be intact, aside from broken windows, but inside the damage was said to be extensive, said Girard.
“At this point in time the structure is deemed unsafe because the floor joists on the main floor have been burnt through.”
After the fire was put out, Nick, Peggy and Jeff sat despondent in a room behind the garage, along with Luana Kaleikini of Emergency Social Services.
The fire left Nick mystified; he had lived in the home since 1965. “As far as I’m concerned, everything’s perfect in there,” he said.
Shewchuk, who is retired, was sitting in a wheelchair; he requires a walker to get around.
Emergency Social Services arranged for two rooms at the Sandman Hotel for the homeless trio, including one that is wheelchair accessible.
The cause of the fire is unknown.