March 2003
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Fire Rages in Fox Cove - History Burns!
By Jaclyn D., Grade 12, Marystown Central High, Burin, NL

Thursday night, February 27, 2003 at 10:30 PM fire broke out in Fox Cove on the Burin Peninsula of Newfoundland. The 143-year-old house on the east side of the harbor burst into flames due to undisclosed reasons. It burnt completely to the ground, despite the efforts by the Fox Cove Volunteer and Burin Fire Departments.

This fire left homeless an 83-year-old Patrick Whalen, who luckily was not in the house at the time the fire broke out. He has now taken up residence with neighbors Patricia and Ernest Kavanagh. The Red Cross and Family Aid came to his aid with clothes and food.

Fire experts are unsure of the origins of the fire. Some speculations are that there was a heater in the bathroom that over heated during the evening and caught fire to the wallpaper. The other theory is that the oil stove in the kitchen caught blaze. The actual reason is left to wonder for no investigation followed.

The house originally was own by Daniel Antle. Years and years of Antle children grew up in the house. The house was full of history coming through two world wars, a tidal wave, and a depression. Years and years of collectable things, including an old radio from times before television were burnt into irreplaceable ashes.

A piece of history lost. Something communities throughout Canada who have experienced similar losses of historic buildings can relate to. Such as the residents of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia who lost their historic church to fire last year.

"It's a shame to see the old house go like that" said Mary Dimmer, who made the call to the fire department. Mary and her husband John, living just above the Antle's home on Dimmer's Lane, were the first on the scene. "We saw smoke coming from the eves, we first thought it was snow blowing off the roof due to the wind, but there was no snow on the roof of the house or any of the other homes, so we figured it was smoke. Where there's smoke there's fire."

So John went down to check for fire and to make sure Mr. Whalen wasn't in the house. He could smell smoke and hear the house cracking.

The house was on fire, the firemen came but when they broke the window to spray water in, the 75 knot winds caught the fire and it blazed out of control. Within minutes the house was engulfed in flames.

The firemen emptied the trucks twice before giving up and saving the water in case anything else ignited from the bits of debris.

At 1:00 the house finally collapsed and the fire slowly died, smoke was still rising in the morning when the local children went to school.

The whole town had come to watch and mourn the lose of this historical house. "Sad is what it is, just plain sad" said Mayor Pad Antle who grew up in the house.

It leaves a huge blank in the too familiar scenery.


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