Eganville – Bonnechere Valley Township firefighters did a yeoman job saving an older two-storey home from destruction during the noon hour last Wednesday after a nearby garage caught fire.

Both the Eganville and Sebastopol Stations were paged out at 12:22 o’clock to 858 Perrault Road, about 10 kms south of Eganville where a garage was fully engulfed in flames and a nearby residence had caught fire from the intense heat.

Upon arrival, firefighters began extinguishing the burning garage and at the same time attacked the home which had caught fire along the roof line and under the eaves.

“The fire was in the roof line of the house and we concentrated on it as the garage was a loss,” Fire Chief Darryl Wagner said. “They put enough water on it to cool it down because it was fairly close and then after awhile we did an interior (attack).”
Firefighters managed to suppress the flames in the upper storey of the residence, but it took some time, he said.

The exteriors of both buildings were covered with a steel siding which was both a help and a hindrance because it was difficult for the fire to spread, but also hard to get at the flames.

“It was very hard to pull it apart to get at it,” he said.

Chief Wagner said the 16 responding firefighters remained at the scene until about 3:30. The response was good considering it was in the middle of the day and many of the firefighters are at work. He said when they become aware the call is a structure fire, many leave their work because they know as much help as possible is needed.

Paramedics from the Eganville Ambulance Station were on scene to monitor firefighters who fought the blaze under 30C temperatures.

“You are wearing your bunker suit and you are working hard and sweating and have got to keep hydrated,” he said. “It’s in our operating guidelines and procedures that after two air bottles we have to go to rehab and then the paramedics will check your heart rate and blood pressure.

Firefighters concentrated on saving the Paquette house from burning until more hoses were set up and water was sprayed on the garage that was raging out of control. The building caught fire shortly after a lawnmower was put away after it was used to cut grass. Sixteen firefighters from the two Bonnechere Valley fi re stations responded.

“It was hot,” he said.

The residence has been in the Paquette family for many years and was built by the late Henry and Frances Paquette who raised a family of eight. Following their deaths, son Phil of Ottawa became owners of the property. He and his first wife, Angeline, planned to build a new retirement home on the farm, but she became ill with cancer and passed away. Mr. Paquette did build a new home and later remarried to Judy Faught, a native of Cobden, who had worked with Mr. Paquette for many years. He passed away several years ago and today the homestead is owned by his wife.

Mr. Paquette’s son, Dan, of Renfrew was at the residence the day of the fire and he and his wife, Joanna, had just finished cutting the grass and had put the riding lawnmower back into the garage. A short time later, they noticed smoke and flames coming from the building.

“We’re not sure what we are going to do with the farmhouse right now,” he said. “We’re probably going to repair it.”

The home has been used during hunting season and family get togethers for the last several years.

Chief Wagner said the loss is unfortunate, but the important thing is no one was hurt.