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Residents thankful for safety, support after ‘devastating’ Moncton duplex fire

Click to play video: 'Homeowners of Moncton duplex destroyed by fire thankful for support' Homeowners of Moncton duplex destroyed by fire thankful for support
Homeowners of the Moncton duplex that was destroyed by fire in the city’s north end earlier this week say they’re just happy everyone made it out safely. Callum Smith has more – Aug 13, 2020

Homeowners of a Moncton duplex that was destroyed by fire in the city’s north end earlier this week say they’re happy everyone made it out safely.

“My son was the first to be alerted; the fire was starting to come into his room,” Nathan Prosser tells Global News.

Their family of four, who moved into the semi-detached home on Clarendon Drive less than a year ago, made it out safely. Unfortunately, the family’s pet cat didn’t.

But Prosser says he’s thankful his son Isaac alerted them, otherwise it could’ve been much worse.

“If he didn’t wake up, it would’ve been a different outcome.”

“When you look at the pictures (inside the home), it’s hard to believe anybody came out of there,” he says.

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Nathan Prosser says he’s thankful his son alerted his family that their home was on fire. Callum Smith / Global News

Rachael Williams, a paramedic living in the other unit of the duplex, was asleep when the fire started.

“At about 2:00 in the morning, I was awakened by some crackling,” she says.

There was no smoke alarm at the time because there wasn’t much smoke there, she says, just flames.

Read more: No injuries after apartment fire in Moncton displaces 8

Williams scrambled to awaken her boyfriend, and banged on the neighbour’s door and rang their doorbell to make sure they were getting out.

“It was a very devastating evening, very scary. “[I] never thought I’d be on this side of things, being a Moncton paramedic, I’ve seen lots of fires. I’ve encountered many devastating things. But you never think that you’re going to go through it.”
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Division Chief Charles LeBlanc, of the fire prevention and investigation unit, says ‘improperly discarded cigarette material’ believed to be the cause of the fire. Prosser says support his family has received has eased the blow of losing everything other than the clothes on their backs.

“Car’s full of stuff from my co-workers, family, so we’re well looked after,” Prosser says, adding that the neighbourhood also came to their aid. “That morning, I had shoes on my feet and a shirt on my back. So a big shoutout to the community here.”

A long list of people, also including Red Cross, local car dealerships and insurance adjusters, deserve praise as well, says Williams.

“To my friends, family, to Brooke [MacEachern] for starting the GoFundMe page, I could never thank you enough for everything you guys are doing. It’s amazing,” she says in an interview. “The support, the love, my work — how supportive you have been. The Moncton firefighters for being here so quickly.”

Read more: Moncton fire claims life of woman in her 50s

As for a cause, the Moncton Fire Department says it is officially classified as ‘undetermined,’ due to a limited number of options the crews can indicate, but they’ve figured out what started the blaze.

“In the opinion of the fire investigators, improperly discarded cigarette material obviously played a role in this fire,” Division Chief Charles LeBlanc, of the fire prevention and investigation, says.

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But the terrifying wake-up, and new reality for Williams, has been an eye-opener.

“You don’t know on a day-to-day basis everything we take for granted,” she says. “The simple things [such as] undergarments, having something clean to put on.”

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