Fire destroys New Brunswick home days before Christmas

Fire destroys New Brunswick home days before Christmas

Fire destroys New Brunswick home days before Christmas

A major fire has destroyed the home of a York County couple, burning everything inside, including many of their Christmas gifts.

Nackawic Fire Chief William Hopkins said crews were called to the Temperance Vale, N.B. home at around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Hopkins said it took more than a dozen firefighters eight hours to put out the blaze.  He said firefighters from other communities also came to help.

Homeowners Phyllis and Roy Coffin have lived in the house for 37 years.  The Coffins were on scene surveying the damage Wednesday morning.

Phyllis told Global News she was out when the fire happened, but her husband was home at the time.

She said they’re grateful no one was injured.

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“I’m devastated by the loss of our home of so many years, but so relieved that Roy got out,” Phyllis said.

She explained they lost everything other than a laptop and the clothes on their backs, but said most things are replaceable.

“It’s a bad situation but we’re alive. We’ll carry-on,” she said.

The couple said they’re staying with family and have made “alternate arrangements” for the holidays.  They plan on rebuilding on the property.

“The community is so kind and supportive.”

Former house resident Wes Corey now lives in Woodstock, N.B. but showed up at his old home to survey the damage after he found out about the fire on social media.

Corey says the Coffins’ house was his family’s homestead and was built in the 1800s.

“I was born in the living room here in 1960,” Corey said.

The youngest of seven, he said his mother decided to deliver him at home with the help of neighbours.

He and his family lived in the house until 1978 when they sold it to the Coffins.

“I think for everybody that’s experienced fire, it’s one of the worst things to witness,” Corey said.

He said he feels for the Coffins and is glad they’re safe.  Corey says he left the Coffins a message through their friends asking if there was anything he could do, including offering them a place to stay.

Corey came to town just a few weeks ago with some of his family to gather footage of the community and house.  He said growing up in the home had a profound impact on his life.

“We were preparing a little video that was going to be a Christmas gift to the rest of our family of growing up in this area,” Corey said.

He’s glad he got back to see the house a few weeks ago before “this unfortunate event happened.”

Corey said his sister is a novelist and has written several books about the community.  Her latest book is just going to publication, he said, and contains information and stories about the house.

Fire Chief issues warning to New Brunswickers regarding home heating

The fire was one of several across the province in the past few weeks.

READ MORE: House fire in Wirral, N.B. claims two lives

Hopkins said the cause is still under investigation, but it’s a good time to remind people about the dangers of electrical fires.

“Now we’ve got the real cold weather and people are using heaters like electric heaters and different things like that [they] could possibly be overloading their electric circuits in their house,” Hopkins said.

He said homeowners people should take extra precautions during the winter months by ensuring cords are safe and said heaters shouldn’t be plugged into extension cords.

Hopkins said it’s also important for people who are burning wood to make sure they have their flues checked and cleaned.  He said people can do their due diligence by making sure “everything is in good, working order.”

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