Ruble and burnt wood are all that remains following a March 27 house fire a few miles west of Dapp.
Bonnie and Tom Elder were driving down Highway 661 on their way home from a function in Dapp when they saw the flames billowing from their property.
“We were probably not that far but the flames were shooting up in the air already,” Bonnie said.
The couple had left the house at 4:20 p.m. and came home around 9:20 p.m. By then the home had already caught on fire, so they called their son-in-law who is a volunteer firefighter and he called 911.
“By the time they got there, we had a mobile home beside the house and two sheds and they all burned to the ground,” she said. “It’s really weird because you think about,
‘Oh, I’ll go get this or that,’ well I don’t have a house. It’s not there no more.”
Fire crews from the Fawcett, Jarvie and Westlock Rural fire departments battled the blaze for five-and-a-half hours after the call came in, according to Laurie Strutt, Westlock County’s director of planning and community services. No one was home at the time, but the couple lost their home, two sheds and a mobile home.
Luckily, their horses and chickens were far enough away that they were safe from harm. The couple was also arrived in time to move their tractors and vehicles clear of the blaze.
Strutt said an official cause has yet to be determined although an investigator checked out the site March 29.
“By the time he gets back to his office and does his report, it’s usually a few days for sure,” she said. “He has to report it to the (Fire) Commissioner’s office. There’s quite a bit of paperwork to do when there’s a structure fire or damage even to a vehicle.”
However, Bonnie said she was told that an electric box in the mobile home sparked the fire.
“It just jumped across because it’s fairly close to the house and the two sheds,” she said. “The one shed had two deep freezes in it and the other one had tools.”
Although it has been tough losing all of her and her husband’s possessions just a few days ago, she was grateful for her daughter’s family for taking the couple in.
“She’s got two little boys that really help take the stress away from it, and the community has been very, very helpful,” she said. “The community is just wonderful. You couldn’t ask for a better community. It’s just great. A hug and an
‘I’m so sorry’ has been so helpful. They have all offered to do whatever we need and that just means everything to us.”
In the meantime, they will stay with their family until the pile stops smouldering, when they can then salvage and clean up their property.
The plan is to put up a mobile home, she said, because it would be easier and faster to build.
“We do have livestock there, like we’ve got chickens and horses. It’s nice if we could get something quick in there to live in so we can be with them.”