UPDATE: Fire devastates Laidlaw home

Owners who lost everything are determined to rebuild

Despite heroic efforts by police, fire and the family, a chimney fire burned a home in Laidlaw to the ground.

The home at 53900 Anderson Lane, off of St. Elmo Road, was engulfed in flames just before 10:00 p.m. Friday. The family fought the fire before it became unsafe inside, the fire department then spent until 6:00 a.m. saving what remained of the home. The family got out safe as did their dog Lucy, their two cats Rafiki and Pepsi are still missing.

Inside the home at the time the fire started were Stuart Peters, his wife Crystal Mann and stepson Tyson Anderson. Tyson alerted there was a fire starting in the chimney. Smoke quickly filled the living room and the fire spread through heating pipes in the attic.

“It all started from there. Fire, fire, fire and that’s when we reacted. We went running. It was chaos from that point on,” Peters said.

There was never a question whether Peters would fight to save the home he has known since birth.

“I was willing to risk my life for this house because when I was born at the Hope Hospital, that’s where I went,” he said.

The family sprang into action, Peters grabbed three fire extinguishers and sprayed them all into the air ducts in the ceiling. He then climbed a ladder and began spraying fire extinguishers into the attic surrounding the chimney.

His father joined him and began fighting the fire from the roof, while Peters fought it from the basement. At this point, there were no extinguishers and the family began using a garden hose.

The first to get to the scene was a police officer, Const. Gillis, who began to chop the floor out with Peters and then ran to take care of his father.

“He turned right into firefighter mode. I gave that guy a big hug after the whole ordeal because when he showed up he was right there with me,” Peters said.

Next on scene was Richard Wells from the Hope Fire Department, who told Peters he needed to leave the home as the house was about to cave in.

“I thought oh my god, I didn’t realize it had been that far gone,” Peters said.

“By the time I got out the back door with Richard, my whole roof right in the middle was all engulfed in flames.”

Dennis Adamson video

Peter’s father was taken to hospital for smoke inhalation, he was held overnight and released the next morning.

Firefighters continued putting out the blaze until 6 a.m., bringing water from the neighbouring Shxw’owhamel First Nation.

Despite being prepared — Peters had a fire extinguisher attached to every doorway in the home — the family lost everything except for Mann’s wallet and Peter’s work gear.

“I was fully and completely prepared and that’s what can happen. It can still get out of your control. Lost everything,” he said.

“My hair on my face is getting long, and I don’t have a shaver to shave my face. It’s the little things now in life that are really making me upset.”

Fire chief Tom DeSorcy said chimney fires, from the creosote forming on the inside, are common. Chimney cleaning at the beginning of the winter season or more often if the chimney is used year round, and working smoke alarms are a must.

Peters advised anyone who had gone through what his family has to run fire drills and seriously consider getting a fire safe.

“I probably talked about buying fire safes for the past two years and I never bid on one. I’m regretting that now,” he said.

“Everything in life can be replaced except for those sentimental values that you receive from deceased family, that you’ll never get again. That’s what you can’t replace.”

Peters said he has already had a lot of support from his employer Hope Towing and from the community he has spent his whole life in.

“I was born at the Hope hospital, I’ve never left. It’s one of the best places to live, as far as I’m concerned its the only place to live,” he said.

The family is staying with friends for the time being, but Peters hopes he can get a trailer on the property from his insurance company. He has too much at stake to stay away from his family — his father and great aunts and uncles are getting on in age — and the farm in Laidlaw.

 

Just Posted

Mt. Hicks wildfire forces thousands of cyclists to divert from Hope

The 10th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer was meant to end in Hope Sunday

At least 14 illegal fires set between Chilliwack and Hope this month

Conservation officers are fed up with people not listening to the province-wide fire ban

Camp Ignite aims to inspire future first responders

Four-day camp offers young women a chance to experience the challenges of being a first responder

General aviation traffic down to a trickle at Chilliwack Airport

Minimum visibility guidelines can’t be met when conditions are so smoky you can’t see the mountains

Evacuation alert issued for Kamp Road properties as Mount Hicks fire moves west

An evacuation alert has been issued for all properties on Kamp Road.… Continue reading

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Are your kids anxious about going back to school?

BC Children’s Hospital offers tips to help your children be mindful and reduce stress

New trial ordered for James Oler in B.C. child bride case

Meanwhile, appeal court dismisses Emily Blackmore’s appeal of guilty verdict

This trash heap in Vancouver could be yours for $3.9 million

Sitting atop 6,000 square feet, the home was built in 1912, later destroyed by fire

Date rapist left victims with ‘long-lasting, emotional scars,’ judge says

Klifford Kenyon of Abbotsford sentenced to additional two years in prison

Fire in barn that housed therapy horses has been confirmed an arson

Abbotsford Police Department is now investigating and seeks witnesses

Team Canada’s next game postponed at Little League World Series

They’re back in action on Wednesday against Peurto Rico

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen pleads guilty in hush-money scheme

Said he and Trump arranged payment to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election

Former Trump aide Paul Manafort found guilty of eight charges

A mistrial has been declared for the other 10 charges against him

Most Read