House fire on Tyendinaga

On April 4th, Mary and Ron Maracle’s house was destroyed in a fire – a week after Cheryl and Mice Maracle’s home suffered the same fate.

The night before the fire, the couple experienced trouble with the lights. “I could smell sulphur,” Mary said.

The next morning everyone went about their day, thinking nothing of it. The washing machine was broken so Mary had to go out to do laundry. The next thing she knew, her son was picking her up, telling her their house was on fire. What had taken 43 years to accumulate was gone in a matter of hours.

The family pets made it out of the blaze safely – a small, but welcome consolation. When the fireman finished putting out the fire, “they heard a bark,” so they went downstairs to get the mother dog and her pups, who were safely floating in the water.

Because the Maracles had a wood stove, they couldn’t get insurance without a major overhaul and a $200 monthly payment. Ironically, they had insurance before the laws changed regarding wood stoves. Mary reiterates that she and her husband both grew up with woodstoves and have had one throughout their almost 50 year-marriage, but in the end it was an electrical issue that started the fire.

Mary, who does catering for a little extra cash, was beside herself listing the things she’s lost: “Cooking supplies, $3,000 worth of meat, a new fridge, stove, freezer […] a brand new roof, the basement got fixed, brand new furnace, got water in, new tile on the bathroom floor.”

As Elvis Presley music plays in the background, Mary says, “I can’t cry. I keep working, can’t look back. But I can dance”, determined not to allow this tragedy to take away her ability to smile.

Ron, who suffers from ulcers on his legs and has some difficulty moving around, isn’t able to work anymore but that didn’t stop him from trying to put up new walls prior to the fire. Luckily, the fire didn’t get to the brand new lumber. Ron was also able to salvage the furnace and their water system. Ron took small comfort in that.

Ron and Mary are overwhelmed with the amount of people who quickly jumped into action to bring them food, and take up collections. Mary states, “People you only know by ‘hello, how are you’, it’s amazing truly amazing.” Talking about the community that has jumped into action to help this family who have dedicated their lives to helping others.

Several fundraisers have been held to help both families. There was a Facebook campaign hosted by Sam Ford, where people could buy products from “Scentsy”. On Saturday May 2, an indoor yardsale/bake sale will be held at the Tyendinaga 59ers Hall on Old Highway 2, with tables will be for rent at $10. Also, on Sunday, May 3, on stage will be a musical comedian, Billy Bridger, at the Tyendinaga Community Centre on York Road. The event will cost $10 at the door and will start at noon.  Proceeds will go toward the families impacted by the fires.

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