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UPDATED: Halloween arson jolts family’s plans: PEI couple was saving up to return to Nail Pond home

Wade Ellsworth of Nail Pond surveys what’s left of his nephew’s home. A series of two Halloween fires, on October 30 and early on November 1 levelled the home of Glen and Kim Ellsworth. The couple moved to Alberta four and a half years ago but was planning to return to their Nail Pond home.
Wade Ellsworth of Nail Pond surveys what’s left of his nephew’s home. A series of two Halloween fires, on October 30 and early on November 1 levelled the home of Glen and Kim Ellsworth. The couple moved to Alberta four and a half years ago but was planning to return to their Nail Pond home. - Eric McCarthy

When Kim Ellsworth and her husband, Glen, closed up their Nail Pond, P.E.I., home four-and-a-half years ago and moved to Alberta for work they shared a suitcase.

“We didn’t take anything else. We left everything else behind because we knew we were coming back to it,” the West Prince native said by phone from Alberta, Thursday morning.

“This was supposed to be a five-year thing. We left P.E.I. to get financially on our feet and to get in a better position so that, when we come back, we can do our home, renovate it, make it something that we worked hard for. That was the whole purpose of coming out west, to get ahead, right?”

Their plans were jolted Tuesday night when a relative called to notify them their home had been set on fire. Tignish Fire Department responded and put the fire out, but the home had sustained extensive damage.

“You could’ve fixed it up to make it quite livable,” said Tignish fire chief Allan Gavin, describing the condition of the house prior to Tuesday’s fire.

“It was not an abandoned house,” he said, before adding, “it doesn’t make any difference: it’s somebody’s property.

At 2 a.m. (Mountain time) Thursday, Ellsworth awoke again to learn their house had been set on fire a second time. This time it burned to the ground.

The Tignish Fire Department, returning to their fire hall after being turned back from an assistance call to the Miminegash Fire Department, came upon the house in flames.

Cpl. Lisa Jones with Prince District RCMP said the firefighters located an individual at the scene. “They called us and they turned him over to us.”

She said a 20-year-old man was arrested and subsequently released on a promise to appear in court in Summerside in January. She said an arson charge is pending.

Ellsworth said she has been beset with emotions since finding out the first house she and her husband had ever owned has been destroyed. They had bought a fire-damaged house from her uncle in East Bideford in 1991, and moved it to Nail Pond. It was there that they raised their three sons, now grown.

“We built it from scratch. We gutted it out, put new walls, made it our home.

“A few years later we put the foundation on and continued to make it our own,” she said. “Our own craftsmanship and our own handiwork.

“Yesterday it started out, mad: ‘how could they?’ Then it turned sad, because then the reality kicks in, what happened. Then last night was depression and when I woke up at two this morning and got wind of the second situation, then I became numb. I’m paralyzed with emotions.”

But Ellsworth said she tries to view the world from a positive perspective. She is at a loss as to why someone would destroy their property, indicating the home is surrounded by relatives and they were well-liked.

“I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason and I’ve always held that mentality. But, at times like this, you’re questioning: ‘What’s this supposed to teach me, what am I supposed to take away from this?’ That’s the thing that’s running rampant within.”

The Ellsworths didn’t live in the house while home on vacations, but Kim said she’d take walks through and bring back with her special keepsakes, like her sons’ report cards, awards and pictures.

“Looking back, I’m glad I did, because those are the things that are not replaceable.”

She isn’t sure how the loss affects their five-year plan, but she points out they still have the land.

“Coming out here was so that we could get on our feet so that when we went back we could be in a better position.

“We are in a better position but now this is just our new reality that we have to face.”

newsroom@journalpioneer.com

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