Blake Ellis/Local Journalism Initiative
“I don’t have words,” said Allison Lortie.
The Wyoming woman is talking about the outpouring of generosity which she and her husband, Brad experienced since fire destroyed their Broadway St. home, displacing them.
“I am absolutely humbled and grateful.”
The Lorties have lived in Wyoming since 2011. On Nov. 20, she was home by herself with the couple’s dogs, Mason and Jagger while Brad was working a night shift.
Lortie happened to be awake, scrolling on her phone when the smoke detector went off at 2:03 am.
She got out of bed and noticed the door to the garage already had black smoke billowing through the cracks.
Brad Lortie is a platoon captain with the Wyoming Fire Department, so Allison knew she should not open that door, so she left the house through the sunroom instead, she said, reliving the moment she made her escape in an interview with The Independent.
Lortie got out but only had one of her two dogs with her, so she went back through the sunroom to find the other.
Lortie says when she went back to get her second dog, she could feel the heat from the flames.
By 2:11 am, the garage was gone. The windows in the house were breaking and the tires of the vehicles which were parked in the garage were popping.
A neighbour called 911, at basically the same time Lortie was making the call as she was standing outside with her pyjamas, housecoat and flip flops. The neighbour gave her a couple of coats to keep her warm and got her dogs, Mason and Jagger situated in the neighbouring home. “It was absolutely devastating,” Lortie said.
“I was in shock for days and days and days,” says Lortie adding she knows how lucky she was.
“The smoke detector saved my life,” said Lortie. Brad Lortie said they had just changed the batteries the week before the fire.
Plympton-Wyoming Fire Chief Erik Campbell was quick to ask what did the couple need. The next night, donations started to come in by volunteers at the fire hall, including clothing and pet supplies for the dogs.
“There was more than we can use,” said Lortie. The couple only took what they needed and what was left was donated to the Inn of the Good Shepherd in Sarnia.
There are many who helped the couple in their time of need including the fire department, OPP, EMS, Victim Services, wives and families of the fire department.
People offered home cooked meals and there were invitations to eat at people’s homes. Many gave handwritten notes, which the couple cherish. “We made a lot of new friends,” said Lortie,
The couple had to stay in a hotel for over 30 days but are now settled in a home in Point Edward as they are plan to rebuild their home in Wyoming.
The experience of losing their home has changed the couple’s outlook on life. “This is a second chance,” said Lortie.