A family of five watched as smoke billowed through the upstairs windows of their Summerside home after just putting the Thanksgiving turkey in the oven, Saturday morning.
“The kitchen lights started flickering and then all the lights upstairs went out. The stove was still on and the basement lights. I thought it was just a (circuit) breaker that went down, so I went into the basement to check the breakers,” said Shawn Estrabrooks while watching from a safe distance Summerside firefighters attend the scene.
The call of a structural fire, located at 329 Notre Dame Street, came into the Summerside Fire Department at 11 a.m.
Gordie Whitlock, from Generation XX, was checking the Summerside-based youth organization adjacent to the home when he noticed smoke and made the call.
“I was just checking the club, as I do every morning, and I came out and noticed there was smoke coming out of the eaves of their home. I ran over and banged on the door telling them their house was on fire and then I called 9-1-1,” said Whitlock.
“The firefighters were on the grounds within seconds. They are amazing, considering they had an open-house event at the time.”
The family and their pets made it out of the home unhurt.
“My fiancée hollered that there was a smell of smoke. By the time I reached the first-floor smoke was already coming out of the eaves, so I’m guessing it started in the attic somewhere. We got the cat, turtles, and a hamster out, and we have three kids with us,” said Estrabrooks.
The section on Notre Dame Street, between Generation XX and the Summerside Legion, was cordoned off as the 34 firefighters tackled the flames.
Summerside deputy fire chief, Clay Moase said the home is “a total loss” as a result of the fire and smoke damage.
“There’s quite a substantial amount of damage to the house, but once we get the salvage work taken care of we will have a better idea,” said Moase while acknowledging the source appeared to come from the upper floor of the two-story home.
“But until the investigation is completed we won’t know for certain,” he added.
Firefighters remained on the scene until it was safe to leave, after 12-noon.
Disaster volunteers with the Canadian Red Cross have assisted Estrabrooks, his fiancée and three girls under age 12 with emergency lodging, food, clothing purchases and other essentials.