HALLVILLE – It was an all stations response for the North Dundas Fire Service Wed., Jan. 3.
The detachments descended on an Allen Road home just northwest of Hallville to find the structure fully engulfed in flames.
One of the owner’s, Brenda Berard, was home at the time, but managed to escape safely, along with her two sons and the family cat and dog. Two other cats, however, perished in the blaze.
Berard’s husband, Robin, had been at work.
The blaze happened during lengthy cold snap in the region, making it difficult for firefighters to tackle the blaze, and leaving the Berards without shelter.
According to family friend Stacy Romard, the four who are now homeless have been staying with other friends and family members as they work through their next steps.
Romard has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help them out, setting a $10,000 goal, and having passed $9,000 by press time.
The Berards are currently meeting with their insurance provider to determine when they can rebuild; however, it’s a lengthy process that could take upwards of a year.
It’s this reason for the online fundraising.
“[There are] so many unknowns in the future, and I would not want financial concerns to burden them,” Romard said.
Morewood detachment firefighter Devon Byers is also looking to help the family.
“As firefighters, we see devastation daily – it comes in all shapes, sizes and forms,” he said. “[With this fire], it came in the biggest form – total destruction. All calls are different, and the effect of each also different… Some stick with you, and some don’t. [This fire] stuck with me.”
To help, and on behalf of the North Dundas Fire Service, Byers is collecting clothes, food, and anything to help make the Berards life a little easier in the in-term.
If you’d like to help, contact Byers at 613-857-7072.