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Another fire inspires community fundraising once again

Updated: Jan 9

Not even one month has passed since a fire in the Willow Beach area of Amherstburg destroyed one home and Amherstburg firefighters returned there again late last week for another house fire.

And, again this time, neighbours and members of the community as a whole are doing their best to help the family that was impacted by the blaze.

The Amherstburg Fire Department were called to the Claremont Lane home Friday, exactly three weeks after the neighbouring property at the corner of Claremont and Elmstead Lane was lost due to fire. With remains of the first fire still on that lot, fire crews battled the second blaze Friday morning and afternoon.

“We got the call approximately 11:15 a.m. for a structure fire,” said deputy chief Ron Meloche. “We upgraded to all three stations. Upon arrival, the fire was through the roof. We went on the defensive right from the get go.”

Dogs were discovered in the home when firefighters could safely enter and were rescued.

“No one was home at the time,” said Meloche.

Meloche estimated the damage to be between $900,000 and $1 million.

Due to the value of the home, the office of the Ontario Fire Marshal (OFM) was notified.

“It is being investigated by the Windsor Police Service and the OFM was notified,” said Meloche.

The deputy chief added all things are considered during an investigation, and that police are usually contacted in such matters.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family called “The Stephens (Kral) Family in Amherstburg.”

In the post, organizer Senga Kral noted this is an effort to raise money to assist her sister and nephew, who lost their home in the fire.

“We all want to thank all of those involved in rescuing their two dogs which are currently being treated with emergency care.

My sister and nephew are safe and were not home at the time. Their two dogs Tiako and Aurora were saved by the brave firemen. They were rushed to the animal hospital and remain there fighting for their lives.”

The post also stated: “With Christmas just around the corner. I hope this amazing community can rally together to help my sister, as she is a hard working compassionate single mom to my equally amazing nephew.”

The son is a Grade 6 student at Malden Central Public School, where Susan Hadfield is a teacher. Hadfield, along with the rest of the staff at the school, are raising funds for the family as they did for the Bradt family three weeks ago with Hadfield sitting outside the school Saturday afternoon seeking donations.

Hadfield said it was slower than the fundraiser held three weeks ago but is still hopeful people can do what they can.

“It’s a week before Christmas. We’re asking a lot right before Christmas. We’ll see what happens,” she said.

Hadfield said it’s “crazy” that such a fundraiser is happening again this quickly after another tragedy.

“It’s surreal,” she said. “It’s three weeks to the day.”

The school is asking for cash and gift cards so the mother can go out and buy what they need for their family.

“If someone wants to come by with a donation, they can drop it off at the school (this) week,” she said.

By Ron Giofu

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