Alvin Albert said his neighbour saved his daughter’s life.
“If Wayne wasn’t there in time, my daughter would have been gone,” he told Global News.
Albert’s family’s home was destroyed along with the duplex next door.
Albert was riding his bike when he saw the thick, black smoke and realized it was coming from his house.
“I (was) going as fast as I can because I’m a dad and I was like, ‘My daughter’s in my house… my dog’s there’,” he said.
He told Global News he rushed towards the burning house and began screaming his daughter’s name.
Then he heard her call back from behind him.
“I turned around and I saw my daughter.”
He said she wouldn’t be alive without Wayne Ermine, who lived in the basement apartment with his partner and step-daughter.
Ermine told Global News his girlfriend went outside for a smoke and spotted the fire.
He started to evacuate everyone when he realized what was happening.
“I got my stepdaughter and girlfriend out through the upstairs door. … I yelled for Alvin and Kristen upstairs and I was yelling for the girls, I was yelling, ‘It’s a fire!’” he said.
“He’s a good man… he did the right thing standing by making sure no one was left,” Albert said of Ermine.
“He’s a hero.”
Ermine and Albert said they lost everything they owned.
Then they received help from people they didn’t know.
The Hampton Free Methodist Church began collecting donations for the families — who aren’t members of the congregation.
“We had about 50 people come in and we’re starting to fill up the tables with donations,” co-lead pastor Jessica Isaac said.
She added that the church is accepting donations until Tuesday evening and that people can also provide financial contributions online.
Albert said he can’t express how much it means to him that strangers are helping his family after he lost his house during a pandemic.
“It may not look like much to some people,” he said, turning towards the clothing and food gathered on tables in the gym of the church, “but the thought shows that people have heart.”