The emergency call of a house fire at 30 Brander Avenue must have felt like deja vu for long-time members of the Langdon Volunteer Fire Service.
In September 2007, a fire gutted the house at that address, marking the first building that was completely lost in the service’s history.
On April 21, the beautiful two-storey home at 30 Brander caught fire. Again, the home was lost.
“It’s bizarre,” said Ron Wenstrom, the senior officer for Langdon Volunteer Fire Service. “There is no connection between the two fires. It’s a different family. The one family doesn’t know the other. It’s a small community, so to lose a house on that property twice is very bizarre.
“This station has been opened for 26 years and only two structures in Langdon that we’ve lost due to fire. Both of them are at that address.”
“In 26 years we’ve lost two houses. Both at the same corner. Both extremely unusual circumstances.”
This fire started in the garage and quickly spread into the main living area. There were six people in the home at the time and they all managed to escape without injury.
It didn’t take long for the structure to become engulfed with flames, but the fire crew arrived and managed to get it under control. The occupants were saved but the home was torn apart for a rebuild and now it’s an empty lot with just the foundation remaining.
“This one looked OK from the outside but the west half of the house inside was gutted by fire,” Wenstrom said. “We knocked the fire down but it had such a foothold when we got there, it couldn’t be saved.
“The modern construction materials are designed to burn. We’ve had fires in 100-year-old houses, 40-year-old houses, that were built for real wood and they can be burning for a long time before we get there and we can salvage them.
“This new stuff … if you aren’t there in a few minutes, say five minutes, which is almost impossible to do, chances are we aren’t going to save it.”
Two people were living at the house permanently while the other four occupants on the night of the fire were visiting. Wenstrom’s crew quickly completely an investigation into the cause of the fire the following day but they haven’t released that information yet.
One thing Wenstrom wants to highlight though is the people in this home were quite fortunate to escape without serious injury.
“Had the smoke alarms not been in place, it would have been a much, much different story,” Wenstrom said. “There could have easily been two fatalities and maybe more had there not been a functioning smoke alarm.
“People don’t pay much attention to them sometimes but it certainly can make a huge different. The smoke alarms couldn’t save the building, but it probably saved two occupants. It would be a completely different story without a smoke alarm there.”