Over the last two months, Jessica Butler was trying to turn her new Oil Springs house into a home for her children.
Now she’s trying to rebuild her life. And her sister, Melissa Bain, is trying to help.
On July 4, the first day of summer for Ethan, 5, and Madison, 2, Butler was in the grocery store in Petrolia when her cell phone started to ring. Neighbours were calling to tell her Oil Springs Line home was on fire and her dog, Moxie, was out and safe.
Butler’s sister says she drove home “quickly” and watched as firefighters tried to save her new home.
When the flames were doused and the smoke had cleared, there was little left.
“The top floor is completely gone,” says Bain. “The top floor is caving into the main floor. All of the kids stuff is completely gone.”
The insurance adjusters were able to retrieve some of Butler’s clothes, but they too were charred. “Everything else – pictures – everything else is gone.”
Bain says her sister, who is a nurse at Bluewater Health, is doing as well as can be expected. Right now, she’s moved in a with a friend to try to figure out what comes next.
And Bain says the children seem to be coping with the loss. “Ethan is upset about not having snails anymore…and Madison knows she hasn’t got any of her Disney stuff anymore…she doesn’t have her baby dolls.”
Madison, she says, especially misses her room full of Little Mermaid toys.
Bain has started a GoFundMe campaign on line hoping to raise $5,000 to keep the family going while the insurance company works.
Right now, agents suspect the fire was electrical in nature and started in one of the bedrooms. They’ve estimated the damage and clean up to be about $400,000.
While the insurance agents work, money is tight, says Bain. And she’s looking for used toys and clothes since the family had nothing but the clothes on their back left. “I’m just trying to get together whatever I can for them.”
And while friends and neighbours have helped, Bain says it has been difficult. “They had just moved into the house in May…they had just purchased it, moved in May and she was doing all the renovations and getting it ready to be a home.”