Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include a response provided by Alejandro Calderon.
After her home was burned down in a suspicious fire that killed one of her pet cats, an Edgewood senior is speaking out.
The 75-year-old is devastated after seeing her retirement plans go up in smoke. Police are looking at whether the blaze is connected to a bizarre incident at a neighbour’s party the night before.
Sometime between the afternoon of Sunday, January 29 and the morning of January 30, the Edgewood-area cabin where Gwenn Calderon was living with her adult son was destroyed by flames. A camper on the property also went up in smoke.
Calderon moved to Edgewood from Saskatchewan last fall after retiring from a job in the health care sector. The fire destroyed what was meant to be her retirement home.
She called the fire devastating and said she was looking forward to a fun retirement but that’s “suddenly completely changed.”
The night before the fire, Calderon’s son Alejandro, 44, was accused of going to a neighbour’s property where a birthday party was taking place and cutting into a hydro pole with a chainsaw.
Partygoer William Hockman said other party guests intervened.
“It was just absolute chaos. They managed to get him finally subdued and only used enough force to subdue this character,” said Hockman.
Alejandro Calderon was injured in the incident and had to be taken to hospital. He has been charged with mischief, uttering threats and assault with a weapon.
Alejandro Calderon said his intention was never to hurt anyone but simply to “bring down” a power pole to prevent his neighbour from playing “loud music” among other things.
He said he didn’t “throw a punch”, defend himself or issue a threat.
Calderon said he was frustrated over a variety of disputes he has had with his neighbours.
Police are still looking at whether the chainsaw incident and the suspicious fire are connected, but the RCMP said they have not confirmed any links.
Neighbours said after the blaze that they were not aware of the fire.
Gwenn Calderon was not there when the chainsaw incident took place and said she did not know what happened.
Alejandro was in police custody when the cabin burned down and Gwenn was away house-sitting for a friend.
She arrived home the next morning to find the destruction.
“It wasn’t ’til after I found the animals and I knew some of them were safe that I started thinking about the losses. Daily living things you could slowly replace. It takes time but they can be replaced. But there are things that can never be replaced. Those are the things I think of,” she said.
The senior is particularly saddened by the loss of photographs and her mother’s jewelry.
For now Gwenn Calderon will continue staying at the home she is house-sitting. The fire is still too fresh for her to decide her next moves.
Alejandro Calderon remains in custody. His case will be back in court in early March. He has yet to enter a plea.
The fire killed one of the Calderons’ cats. Gwenn said another cat was burned and is being treated by a vet and a third is still missing. A fourth cat and a dog survived.