Just one week after their home was gutted by a fire, Ron and Linda Goodell say they are looking at life positively once again.
Installed in a neighbour’s vacant trailer just behind their old home, they are salvaging what they can of their previous life. They say the generosity of neighbours, friends and family has been “absolutely awesome.”
“We’re blessed in one sense. We could be destitute,” Ron says.
A few CDs, a blackened daytimer and sooty wallet sit outside their new trailer on a chair. While they have salvaged some items, many more were incinerated in the fire, including computers and both car keys to Linda’s Ford Escort which sits locked in the driveway. The house is nothing but “black burned plastic,” Ron says. “It smells awful.”
But he says before the fire was even extinguished, friends and neighbours were bringing over clothes and asking if they needed other things. Since that time, dozens of people have donated furniture, clothes, and money.
Ron says before they knew it, they were outfitted with a furnished house.
“Disasters go on all the time in the world and many people are all on their own,” Ron says.
“’Thank you’ just doesn’t seem enough,” Linda says. “Both Ron and I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from friends, family and the community.”
Ron, who was working out of town when the fire broke out, says the only thing that matters is that Linda got out unharmed. She was sleeping inside the house when the fire started around 5 p.m. Dec. 6. She awoke to banging sounds, which she thought was her husband. She called his name, but there was no response. The smell of burning plastic alerted her something was wrong. When she walked down the hall, she saw the flames.
She ran outside the house in bare feet and pyjamas.
“I don’t recommend going outside in the snow in bare feet,” she says wryly.
Flames were shooting out of the side of the house as she escaped the building. She and their dog took refuge at a neighbour’s. Once she left the house, the smoke alarm began to blare.
The alarm was brand-new, Ron says, but obviously was not sensitive enough due to the location of the fire. The fire was caused by an electrical malfunction.
“You can’t have too many smoke detectors,” Ron says.
The fire broke out shortly before the fire department got the call at 5 p.m. A dozen firefighters responded to the call within minutes.
“It’s amazing the response time of the fire department,” says Const. Simon Bentley of the Valemount RCMP who was on the scene that day.
Ron says he is grateful for the quick action of the firefighters.
The couple plans to rebuild their home on the property as soon as they can get their insurance figured out.