PROFITS CORNER, P.E.I. - The day after the Profits Corner house he shared with his wife, Dianne, was destroyed by fire, Alan Weir was back at their hobby farm Monday, lugging bottled water to their livestock.
The couple was heading in for their noon meal Sunday when they saw a smoky haze on the roof of the house.
Upon opening their front door, their beagle dog, Jake, ran out, but with the house quickly filling with smoke, they were unable to rescue two other dogs and two cats. All of their household belongings were also destroyed, leaving them with just the farm clothes they were wearing.
“The pictures and stuff that you can’t replace; that’s probably the hardest thing besides the animals losing their lives,” said Weir as he tried to go about his morning farm chores. Two horses, four goats, three rabbits and five chickens still have to be fed and watered daily and, with the power to the farm lost because of the fire that destroyed their house, the Weirs need to cart water to the farm.
Alan Weir said he hopes to get a larger tank installed on his trailer rather than carry water bottles back and forth. He describes all the encouragement and offers of support they’ve received as being almost overwhelming.
The couple moved to Profits Corner from Oromocto to retire last March and focused much of their early efforts since then on starting their hobby farm.
The cause of the fire has not been determined.
“It was so far gone when we got there,” Tignish fire chief Allan Gavin described the scene as they arrived. “(The fire) was out the top floor above the windows. The roof was still intact, but it wasn’t long before it went,” he said.
“All I had on my mind was get the dogs out,” Weir said, adding time seemed like it was going backwards.
The Miminegash and Alberton fire departments were called in for mutual aid assistance, and collectively the three departments poured more than 38,000 gallons of water on the fire.
An ambulance was also summoned and the homeowners were taken to hospital to be checked for smoke inhalation. They were released later in the afternoon.
Firefighters remained on the scene until after 5:30 p.m.
Gavin said the fire might have smouldered for a while before being discovered.
“As soon as it got some oxygen, it likely just took off,” he said.
The couple stayed with relatives Sunday night. They have since been offered use of a Christopher Road house while they decide what to do next.
“I have no idea,” Weir said about their next steps. “We’re seeing Red Cross today and we’ll go from there.” They were also expecting to meet with an insurance adjuster.