Pitching in to help the victims of a Petrolia fire


Family and friends are pitching in to help a Petrolia couple who lost everything in a fire.

On Jan. 9, Deb LeClair and Lew Boyd’s apartment on Eureka Street caught fire. LeClair was at home sleeping and woke up because of a smoke alarm according to Patti Popelier, Boyd’s sister who is spearheading the drive.

“When she woke up with the smoke detector…the room was full of smoke,” says Popelier. LeClair, who was alone at the time, tried to stand up but couldn’t because of the thick smoke.

“She crawled her way to the front door and got out on the steps and called for help.”

Neighbours came to her aid and she was hospitalized for four days to deal with the effects of smoke inhalation.

Poppalier says LeClair has made a full recovery but the couple have lost virtually everything and had no insurance to cover the loss. And they had to leave their home as there was $100,000 in damage to the unit.

“Lew has a few articles of his clothing – a bag full of clothes – but that’s it.” To make matters worse, Boyd – a millwright – is out of work right now.

For now, the couple is staying with Popelier but they have found a new townhouse. They have very little to put in it.

Popelier says friends have begun donating furniture and a Go Fund Me page at press time has brought in about $1,600 for the couple. “People are donating and we’re very thankful for that,” says Popelier adding it is difficult for the couple to accept the fact they need help.

She’s also organizing a Pasta Dinner and Silent Auction to raise money to help Boyd and LeClair on Jan. 30 at the Petrolia Legion.

Popelier says this is a stressful time for the couple but after donations began to come in immediately, it was heartening to see the community step up to help. “In one way I was totally surprised but then again not – it’s Petrolia; that’s what small communities do – they help people.”

To help go to https://www.gofundme.com/fzkknpdg