COBOURG — A neighbour and two passersby rescued an 86-year-old woman from the balcony of her burning home.
The fire broke out at a Monk Street residence just before noon on Thursday, July 2.
Randy Charles said the homeowners, his mother Lois Harvey, 86, and his stepfather Dennis Harvey, 87, were sent to hospital for smoke inhalation but were believed to be fine. Mr. Charles was extremely grateful for the help of the three people who got his mother to safety.
“I am just so grateful people were here and stepped up to the plate. I just thanked God that they are all right,” said Mr. Charles.
Ms. Harvey lived in the home for more than 25 years, said Mr. Charles.
Downstairs tenant, Sheila Knight, whose cat went missing in the fire, said the smoke detectors went off and at first she thought the Harvey’s burnt something on the stove. When she saw smoke at the end of her hall she rushed out of the house. She saw Mr. Harvey outside trying to put out the fire. Then she heard Ms. Harvey shouting for help from the upstairs balcony.
“Poor Lois, she was panicking,” said Ms. Knight.
She called to her neighbour Pat Cork who ran to get his ladder while she called 911.
Flames were shooting from the home at this time and Mr. Cork said he and two other people who were in the area at the time helped.
“She couldn’t get down the stairwell — the fire was in the back (of the home),” Mr. Cork said.
A woman named Nicole climbed up the ladder, he said.
“She just stopped the car right there and went right up the ladder,” said Mr. Cork.
Mr. Cork urged Ms. Harvey to climb down the ladder.
“I said ‘You haven’t got any time, Lois’,” said Mr. Cork. Ms. Harvey was able to climb down the ladder herself with the support of Mr. Cork and the two other people.
Mr. Harvey was doing some soldering in the basement, working on a new bathroom shortly before the fire, said Ms. Knight. She thought a spark could have ignited the fire.
Fire Captain Scott MacDonald said the fire department would be investigating the cause but it was possible it started from the work being done in the basement. The fire spread throughout the home with significant damage to the top floor.
Visibly upset, Ms. Knight was hoping firefighters would find her four-year old cat named Smoky.
“I just want to see my cat,” she said.
The grey-and-white striped cat may have escaped the fire, she thought.
Neighbours and friends gathered to help Ms. Knight, bringing her food and new clothing. She left her apartment in a robe and pajamas.
“Everyone has been so great,” said Ms. Knight.
She has worked as a cashier at David’s No Frills for 17 years and lived in the Monk Street apartment for more than 10 years. Co-workers said they are organizing a collection for the fire victims at the store.