An early morning fire in Cobourg, Ont., reduced an elderly couple’s home to a bare structure.
Firefighters from the Town of Cobourg’s Fire Department responded to reports of a structure fire at 431 Victoria Street, north of University Avenue, at approximately 2:20 a.m.
When the firefighters arrived, a shed was engulfed in flames at the rear of the residence, with the flames spreading to the home.
The couple, Ken and Edna Waldie, have resided at the residence for 57 years. They were awakened by a neighbour alerting them to the fire just outside their home.
According to Ken, when he went to check the back of the house, flames were already coming in through the kitchen window.
Witnesses say the couple made it safely outside, and stood by while firefighters worked for several hours in an effort to save their home.
Members of the Hamilton Township Fire Department were also called in to remain on standby at Cobourg Firehall to assist the Cobourg firefighters on scene in case they required assistance.
Acting Captain for Cobourg Fire Sorab Bulsara said that while the fire on the exterior of the building was put out pretty quickly, but the structure itself had already been engulfed in flames by then.
“The kitchen was fully involved, and the fire made its way through an attic vent,” said Bulsara. “It’s an older home, with lots of renovations and lots of layers, which hindered our suppression tactics.”
“We had crews in and they made their way into the attic to hit it, but there were three or four layers of ceiling material so trying to break through that just to get access was almost impossible.”
“We just kept working at it. The firefighters worked really hard trying to get at the fire,” said Bulsara.
An excavator was brought in to remove parts of the steel roof, to try and gain better access to the fire.
“Unfortunately with these older homes, and the renovations over the years — there is lots of voids and lots of layers, and it really held the fire within the structure and it didn’t allow us to gain any access,” said Bulsara.
According to firefighters, the home was a total loss, but crews were still able to salvage a few items belonging to the couple.