‘Amazing’ support for city worker after devastating fire

A home on County Road 18 is boarded up Monday, March 13, 2017 after a fire the Thursday before (March 9). The City of Cornwall's garage and fleet supervisor says there's been an outpouring of support for their employee and his family. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL/OSNABRUCK CENTER – The city’s garage and fleet supervisor says the response has been overwhelming to help a city worker, whose family lost their South Stormont home to fire this month.

Kevin Duchesne and his family lost most of their home and a lot of their belongings in a fire on County Road 18 roughly two weeks ago (March 9), west of Osnabruck Center.

Kevin is the assistant garage supervisor for the City of Cornwall. His department started a collection the next day.

“Kevin thinks it’s absolutely amazing that coworkers would step up to the plate…everybody has gotten on board and a lot are still doing that,” Garage and Feet Supervisor David Bigelow said in an interview Tuesday with Cornwall Newswatch.

“We’ve set a box up here (1225 Ontario Street) and people have been contributing that way. It’s been quite well received, that’s for darn sure, and everybody seems to be feeling generous. It’s understandable in the hard times right now. Everybody is watching their dollars but still many people that are helping out,” Bigelow said.

Bigelow said this was a first for him – organizing help for someone in need.

“He’s one of the most credible people I’ve ever worked with in my life so you don’t mind stepping out and helping a bit.”

Bigelow said the community could drop off donations at the front desk at the public works office at 1225 Ontario Street.

“We all take things for granted until you have something like that…you just don’t realize.”

Friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help get the Duchesne family back on their feet.

Fire investigation complete

Most of the attic is gutted in this County Road 18 home on Monday, March 13, 2017 after a fire the Thursday before (March 9). The fire department has concluded that something left on the stove was to blame for the fire. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

South Stormont Fire Chief Gilles Crepeau told CNW they’ve completed their investigation and the cause of the blaze was something accidentally left on the stove.

“We’re certain that it was a cooking appliance that started the fire. Something was left on the stove. They left for work…and that’s what ignited the fire,” Crepeau said.

“The fire travelled up to the attic area and, it was such as windy day, once it opened up on the west side, it travelled right through the attic and it opened up on the east side,” the chief said.

Crepeau said they were able to contain the damage to the attic and the first floor, saving the finished basement from the flames.

There were firefighters from Ingleside, Newington and Long Sault on the scene for most of the day on Thursday, March 9.

Crepeau said some personal belongings were salvaged and the property has since been turned over to the homeowner.

There were no reported injuries.

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