Wyoming steps up to help fire victims

Wyoming and Petrolia firefighters on the scene of a blaze on Broadway St. Monday

Samantha Freer was stunned when the doors to the Wyoming fire hall opened Monday.

The Wyoming woman, working with the fire department, organized a time for people to drop off donations at the hall for a couple who lost their home to a fire early that morning.

Around 2 am Monday, Wyoming firefighters were called out to a home on Broadway Street for a garage fire, Plympton-Wyoming Fire Chief Erik Campbell says.

The garage – with a vehicle inside – was already engulfed by flames.
Petrolia/North Enniskillen firefighters were called in to help. The garage was destroyed, and the wood sided home – part of which remains standing – was also extensively damaged.

“It’s pretty safe to say the home is going to be written off,” says the chief. Campbell says the department is working with the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office but it is still in the early stages of the investigation. He says the blaze doesn’t look suspicious at this time.

“Everyone got out safely thanks to working smoke alarms,” says Campbell.

A couple lives at the home and that night, one was at work when the fire started. One person and two dogs left the home in the early morning hours.

“They lost everything,” says Freer, adding people started asking where to drop off donations as soon as the word made the rounds.

So, she organized the one-hour drop off and opened the doors.

“It was overwhelming the amount of people who brought in clothes and shoes, gift cards…it was overwhelming to say the least.”

Freer says people even brought food for the couple’s two dogs.

In that one hour, Freer saw many of her neighbours and young families bringing kids, she believes, to show them what a community can do in the face of an emergency.

The gifts collected in that hour will be more than the couple needs, says Freer. The remainder will go to a charity, maybe the River City Vineyard, to help others in need.

And, for the next little while, anyone who would like to contribute a gift card to help the couple get through this difficult time, they can drop them off at the Plympton-Wyoming municipal office during regular business hours.

Freer was moved by the generosity of her neighbours. “The devastation of seeing them losing their house touched people,” she says.

“It’s the time of the year, too,” she says of people’s need to give. “People are feeling generous and are wanting to do something.”