A bedroom candle is believed to have started a Christmas Day fire in a Fort Richmond home that caused $400,000 worth of damage.
"The damage inside is significant," said Josh Kadyschuk, a Power Up Electric contractor called in by restoration company FirstOnSite. He spent most of the morning trying to get the power back on and the heat working so the inside of the home didn’t freeze.
"It will probably be a few months before the family can go back home. It looks to me like they will need to strip the whole house. The floors at the back of the house are all burnt and will need replacing."
Nurul Haque and his wife, Khaleda Akter live next door and said they already miss their neighbours, a couple they believed to be in their early seventies who built the home 30 years ago.
"I heard some noise so I came outside to see what was happening and right away I saw the flames and black smoke," said Haque, who refers to his neighbour as "Mr. L."
"Their family was there for Christmas Day. I saw their grandson and granddaughter run outside just as the fire truck was pulling up. They were only outside in the cold for a few minutes though, and then the neighbour on the other side invited everyone in to get warm."
With only a few feet between the two houses,Haque and Akter were afraid the fire might spread to their home and decided to evacuate until firefighters put out the fire.
"I’m very sad that this happened to them. They are such good people. They are quiet, private people, but very friendly. They have hosted a few parties at their house, and they were a lot of fun," said Haque.
"I think they were right in the middle of Christmas dinner when it happened, which is really sad," said Kadyshuk through a black protective mask. "Right now there are still presents scattered everywhere in the living room."
The couple who live in the burned home is one of only about three original homeowners left on Mapleridge Avenue, said neighbours. The couple is believed to be staying with their daughter and her husband, who live a short distance away.