GORE BAY – A local resident was fortunate to get out of his home which was destroyed in a major fire in Gore Bay on the early afternoon of Monday, December 30.
The home, belonging to David Montgomery, on 6 Hall Street, was totally destroyed in the blaze. He explained, “I had been sleeping (when the fire occurred). I woke up and my cat was beside with me, and there was already some smoke in the room. And the back furnace room was engulfed in smoke, from the floor to the rafters. Once I grabbed my boots I got my animals (a cat and a dog) out of the house,” he told the Recorder. “If not for the door to the furnace room, there would probably have already been flames and smoke throughout the whole house.”
Once outside of the house, “I saw Hye (Clark) in his propane truck and got him to call emergency services,” said Mr. Montgomery. He said that when the Gore Bay Volunteer Fire Department arrived on scene, “the flames were out of control.” He pointed out his dog followed him and was safe, but his cat hid in the garage and may have perished in the blaze.
Mike Addison, Gore Bay Fire Chief told the Recorder, “when we arrived on the scene, there was nothing we could do to save the (split level) house except to put it out and make sure it didn’t spread further. The fire was fully involved, and David (Montgomery) was outside. The smoke was coming out from the front and back of the house and you could hear glass breaking. Once a fire like this gets up into the attic, it travels very quickly.”
The day the fire took place was a very wet, windy day in Gore Bay, making it that much more challenging to put the fire out.
The Gore Bay Fire Department called in the Billings Township Volunteer Fire Department for support, through the mutual aid program, in putting out the blaze. “We had called them through the mutual aid program, and they helped spell off our crew in taking breaks. Their help was really appreciated.”
“Dave met us in the driveway when we got there and there was really thick black smoke coming from the downstairs, and at the back of the house,” continued Mr. Addison. “At this point we knew we couldn’t save the house, so we take on a defensive outlook, and fought the fire from the outside of the house. We knew at this point it was not safe to go inside.”
“The house was a total write-off but fortunately David was safe,” stated Mr. Addison. As well as the assistance received from the Billings Fire Department he pointed out the local IDA provided water for the firefighters and coffee was provided by Loco Beanz. “This community is tremendous in its support of our fire department in situations like this.”
The fire department received the call of the fire at 12:34 pm and some of the firefighters were on scene for as much as eight-and-a-half hours. “Luckily, not one was hurt, but Dave did lose everything in the fire; he didn’t even have time to grab his wallet. All he had left was the clothes on his back.”
Mr. Addison explained the Gore Bay Fire Department “actually received four calls yesterday (December 30, 2019). The first call came in at 11:49 am as a branch had fallen over a hydro line on Thorburn Street. Hydro One crews were also on site very quickly to help dissipate this situation. Then at 12:34 pm the fire department got called out to the Montgomery house fire. Some of us were still at the fire hall when the call came in for the house fire (having been at the scene at Thorburn Street), and we pulled our gear on and got there quickly.”
While the firefighters battled the house fire, a resident from Bayside Apartments had called in reporting the smell and smoke in their apartment so two of the firefighters responded to this call, investigating by going door to door in the apartment building to make sure there was no fire. And after fighting the house fire for many hours, before the fire fighters left the fire hall a second time, “flames flared up a little in the centre of the house, so we were called back to put this out.”
Although the exact cause of the fire (which completely destroyed the house) had not been determined as of this week’s Recorder press deadline, it is not deemed a suspicious fire.
Mr. Montgomery confirmed with the Recorder that he has home insurance.