Tammy and Angus McAuslan saw the smoke first.
The couple had been golfing earlier in the day and were headed down Shiloh Line near Forest Road on their way to Alvinston to pick up a pizza when they spotted the thick black smoke. “When got past the trees there was big flames,” says Tammy.
While the McAuslan’s knew of the family well enough to wave hello. And they could tell they were still at home.
“We saw the flames and the smoke and we could see the vehicles were parked in the carport and we figure they could be there,” she says as she stood beside her car. The family’s dog was inside so it wouldn’t run away.
“We backed into the laneway, Angus was trying to call (9-1-1) and I was getting out to go and they just started walking out the front door.
The homeowners and their two small children, aged 1 and 3, escaped unharmed along with the dog. “He tried to move the truck but it was already burning and he jumped out and left it partway in the laneway and the car in the carport was completely in flames.”
McAuslan said the homeowner briefly considering going back in to get the family’s cat but didn’t.
And the house, which was only a couple of years old, was now in flames.
“It was completely engulfed in flames by the time the fire department understands,” says McAuslan.
By 9:30 pm, firefighters from Petrolia/North Enniskillen, Oil Springs and Brooke Fire Rescue had put out most of the flames but were still trying to put out the hotspots.The house was a blackened shell with no windows or doors left.
The children had been put to bed at the neighbours’ house nearby as the family watched firefighters at work.
It’s not clear what started the fire.