Devlin family loses everything in fire

As if it wasn’t trying enough with the bitter cold last Friday, Jack and Angela Fiset of Devlin and their three children also faced the loss of their home and everything they owned in a fire that morning.
The blaze also claimed the life of “Pumpkin,” their cat.
The La Vallee volunteer fire department responded quickly to the blaze but the raging fire left firefighters little hope of salvaging anything.
“It’s just overwhelming. There’s nothing. It’s all melted black . . . nothing,” Angela Fiset said upon returning to assess the damage Saturday. “It was as if a thief came and took everything.”
Angela Fiset was at work at the time of the blaze while the children (Riley, 15, J.J., eight, and Jaymee, six) were in school. Jack Fiset was home, but outside working in the shed.
“He saw the smoke coming out the front of the house and when he opened the door, the fire was already well on its way,” said Angela Fiset.
Jack Fiset ran across the road to his sister-in-law’s to call 9-1-1 and while gone, passer-by Ross Anderson of Emo saw Fiset’s truck in the driveway of the burning home.
Thinking someone was still inside, Anderson ran to the house, opened the door, and crawled in on his belly, calling Fiset’s name. The only response was the frantic meowing of a cat aptly named “Lucky,” which Anderson saved.
“He thought he heard more whimpering and he didn’t know if it was an animal or Jack,” Anderson’s wife, Anne Jane, said during a brief phone interview Monday.
Anderson himself was not available for comment.
“He was going to keep looking, but his hair started to singe and he had to back out of the house,” she added.
“He ran down to the fire department to get a paramedic because he thought Jack might still be inside, but thankfully when he returned, Jack was okay.”
Angela Fiset said she was thankful the blaze did not happen during the night, even though the family had working smoke alarms in place.
“It was so fast—I shudder to think what might have happened,” she remarked.
Leo Pruys, chief of the La Vallee volunteer fire department, said the house was fully engulfed in flames when they arrived. And although they had it knocked back within a few minutes, conditions hampered their ongoing efforts to save the structure.
“The fire got into the attic and ceiling area, and because of heavy smoke we could not see anything,” Chief Pruys recalled yesterday. “The house had a double roof and we could not access the area very well.
“It would have become a danger to the firemen, and as well the cold weather was very taxing on the men,” he added. “It made for a long, hard day.”
The Fisets are staying with relatives for the time being until they sort out what to do and how to pick up the pieces of their lives. But one thing is for sure, community spirit jumped up to help even before the flames were extinguished.
The realization of just how much people care in a time of need is almost as overwhelming to Angela Fiset and her family as their loss was.
“I can’t believe the response,” she said. “People say they don’t like living in a small town, but I’ll tell you I feel pretty lucky to be living in one.
“People really do stick together through tragedy. [The] support has been phenomenal [and] people are still dropping off things.
“[The firefighters] hadn’t even finished putting the fire out and Crossroads School was collecting clothes for my children,” Fiset added, her voice breaking with emotion.
“It breaks my heart that we’ve lost our home. It wasn’t much, but it was ours,” she remarked. “It’s going to be a tough few months [ahead] but we will manage.
“That no one was hurt, I am very thankful of that.”
The cause of the fire had not been determined as of press time today.

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