A Murray Corner woman lost her home and all of her possessions in a fire almost two weeks ago. Chyrl Fields managed to escape the blaze unhurt, with only her purse and her cat Meskie. Fields credits the cat for saving her life by jumping on her chest and waking her in the middle of the night when her house was on fire. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined; the incident is still under investigation. LEBLANC PHOTO
MURRAY CORNER, NB – A Murray Corner woman is crediting her cat for saving her life, when her home was completely destroyed by fire recently.
Chyrl Fields said in a telephone interview on Monday that she believes that if her cat hadn’t wakened her at about 2 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 8 she may not have survived the fire at her home.
“I went to bed about 11 and was asleep at around 2 when Meskie jumped right up on my chest. Then she jumped off and went into the kitchen. I looked out after her and that’s went I saw a yellow glow. When I got up and went out to the kitchen I could see my deck (outside) was all on fire. I called 911 right away then grabbed my purse and Meskie and got out but I was just in my nightgown and slippers,” she said.
Fields fumbled in getting her car keys, but managed to locate them and was able to move her vehicle away from the fire, but not before it sustained some damage to the exterior.
The Canadian Red Cross provided immediate assistance for lodging and meals, Fields said, and she spent three nights in a Sackville hotel and was able to buy a few items of clothing. Since Monday she’s been staying in an old travel trailer behind the burned-out remnants of her home; the trailer has no water or working bathroom facilities. She’s not sure of just where she will go or what she will do in the days and months ahead. Her home was not insured.
“You know, you live on a small pension and there’s just not enough to pay for things like house insurance. You just hope nothing will happen,” she said.
Fields said she believes that the fire was started intentionally by someone, but she doesn’t know why.
The Bayfield/Cape Tormentine and Port Elgin fire departments responded to Fields’ 911 call and were on the scene promptly. Bayfield/Cape Tormentine fire chief Mike Dean said Tuesday that the small single-storey structure was engulfed in flames when both fire departments arrived at the scene, but they were unable to save the home.
“About half of the structure is still standing but there is extensive fire and water damage to the remaining half; it is uninhabitable and will have to be demolished,” Dean said.
First on scene, Port Elgin fire chief Steve Alward also said last week that the office of the provincial fire marshal was at the site of the fire and took samples for analysis.
“The incident is still under investigation; the cause of the fire is still undetermined at this time,” he said.
Meanwhile, the community is beginning to rally together to provide some assistance for Fields, who lost everything in the August 8 fire.
The local Silver Pioneers Seniors group held a benefit bake sale on Sunday at the East Botsford Recreation Centre in Murray Corner. Member Geraldine Davis said last week that the community will also be able to help Fields through the donation of funds.
“This is a terrible thing that’s happened, losing her home and everything in it. So we hope people in the community and beyond will lend a much-needed helping hand. Monetary donations are being accepted at donation jars placed throughout the area. From those proceeds the Silver Pioneers Seniors’ group plans to purchase some items to assist Chyrl,” she said.