A house and an auto body shop were destroyed by fire in Pense, Sask., on Friday.
The Pense Fire Department responded to the blaze shortly before 5 a.m. Fire crews said a family of three was inside the home at the time of the fire, but escaped without injuries.
“Nobody was hurt. That’s the best case scenario for us all the time,” said Pense’s deputy fire chief Ken Lovell. “Life over property always.”
Lovell said the fire started in the roof of the home, but quickly jumped to the neighbouring auto body garage. Firefighters called in back-up from Rouleau’s fire department, but Lovell said there wasn’t much more they could do to save the buildings.
“When you’re that involved in the roof, you’re limited to what you can do to save it,” Lovell said.
John Wilson, the owner of Outlaw Garage, said he lost his entire life’s work in the fire.
“Everything’s gone,” Wilson said. “I don’t know what to do. I lost probably a million dollars right here.”
Wilson’s shop was filled with about a dozen restored vintage cars, a lifelong passion of his and his daughter Macy’s.
“It’s more than the cars. It’s not just the object, it’s the meaning behind everything,” Macy said. “That’s my childhood gone; that’s my dad’s hard work gone.”
The Wilsons said they estimate about $1 million was lost in the fire. They said the vehicles weren’t insured.
Pense Mayor Shauna Young said it’s an obvious hit to the community, but expects citizens to come together in a time of need.
“Similar to lots of small-town communities in this province, this community rallies behind folks. I have already looked at social media and there is lots of sympathy and empathy out there,” Young said.
Pense fire crews monitored hot spots for hours after the flames were extinguished.
Officials are investigating the cause of the fire.