A family in Orono is without a home this Christmas, after a fire caused extensive damage and also the loss of an animal.
It happened on the morning of Dec. 17. Alixandra Woodrow remembers it clearly.
“Definitely the worst part of the fire by far,” Woodrow said in tears when speaking about the cat, Percy, that was killed in the fire.
The cat was staying in the garage, where the fire started.
Clarington fire chief Gord Weir says it’s possible the cat knocked over heat lights. “Maybe the bulb broke, got too hot and started the fire,” Weir said.
Percy was supposed to be a Christmas present for a close relative of the Woodrow’s.
“He was a really nice cat,” said Woodrow’s husband, Greg.
The family’s seven other pets barely escaped, but it wasn’t the only close call.
Woodrow’s son, Mason, was sleeping in his room during the time of the fire. Less than five minutes after he escaped the home, his room exploded.
While the family comes to grips with the devastation, they’re grateful to the stranger who put his life at risk that night.
Dave Centofanti saw the fire and without hesitation, went in to save Merlin, one of the last pets in the house.
“I just ran into the house,” he said. “I didn’t even think twice.”
In the aftermath of the fire, Durham police, Red Cross, a local church and dozens of other organizations are also offering support as the Woodrows remain displaced.
“So many people have offered to help that we can’t keep up with saying no thank you,” Greg said.
“I don’t even feel depressed or anything after the fire,” Woodrow said.
“I just feel like a renewed gratitude for everything that I have.”