Wyoming firefighters peer into the basement of the home of Bill Abbott east of Reeces Corners. They and three other departments could not save the home in today’s extreme cold.
Firefighters from Wyoming are still on the scene of a stubborn house fire east of Reeces Corners which has destroyed the home of a world-class boat maker.
Around 11 am, the department was called to the home of Bill Abbott – the founder of Sarnia’s Abbott Boats – on Minnely Road between London Line and Highway 402. Wyoming Fire Chief Mike Vasey says Abbott and his wife were in the home when the fire started but had left the building tucked into the trees at the end of the road before firefighters arrived.
Thirty-five firefighters from three other departments, Camlachie, Petrolia/North Enniskillen and Warwick, were called in to help until about 7 pm. Wyoming planned to be on the scene dousing the hotspots through the night.
Vasey says the extreme cold made it difficult to fight the fire. Valves on pumper trucks froze, hoses burst and the firefighters could only work in the cold for a short period of time before going to warm themselves.
The chief isn’t sure what sparked the fire, but he pointed to a hole the roof around the chimney saying the point of origin was somewhere in that area.
The Ontario Fire Marshal’s office was called because of the value of the home, estimated at about $500,000. Vasey says while well-built, the fire has gutted the interior and a main support beam broke making the structure unsafe to enter.
Vasey expects to speak with the Abbotts Friday or Saturday to try to figure out what happened.
In 2006, the Abbott family was devastated when a number of buildings at their business were destroyed by fire. A $6 million lawsuit against the city and the nearby, movie theatre was only settled last May,