Couple thankful for support following house fire
By Jenn Watt
Sharon and Rob Luke were on their dock enjoying the hot afternoon sun on holiday Monday when a man in a boat pulled up in front of them.
“He’s looking at us really strange and he says ‘I think your house is on fire,’” Sharon Luke said. “We went, what? We turned around and looked and saw all this big, black billowing smoke just belching out from behind the roofline.”
They ran up to the house to see what they could do, but Sharon said it was too hot and smoky to salvage much. She picked up her laptop and cellphone, which were on the back deck.
“We ended up standing over on a neighbour’s property, just watching everything burn,” she said.
The Minden Hills Fire Department received a call at around 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 5 that the house, which was on Tilley Trail off of Horseshoe Lake Road, was on fire.
Fire chief Mike Bekking said when they arrived, fire had engulfed the structure, spreading to some trees. Mutual aid was requested from the Haliburton Fire Department, which sent eight firefighters to join the 10 from Minden.
Bekking said they worked first to contain the blaze, so it wouldn’t spread to the neighbours’ properties and surrounding trees, and then they turned their attention to putting out the hotspots.
Sharon Luke praised the fire department, saying they arrived quickly and she was grateful they stopped the flames from spreading to her neighbours’ houses.
The couple lost vehicles, a garage, pontoon boat, and their home in the fire. While some things can be replaced, others cannot including recent and historical family photos and memorabilia.
“I have all the information on Ancestry [website]. So, the data is there, but like my grandmother’s nursing certificate from the 1920s, her marriage certificate. All of those nice things, you know? It’s all gone,” Sharon said.
Rob Luke built the house in 1981 with the couple putting an addition on in 1991.
“He watched 38 years go up in smoke,” Sharon said of her husband. “He built the house and we did the addition together. He did all the construction and everything himself.”
The Lukes are currently living in a fifth wheel trailer, but may have to find other accommodations.
“We intend to rebuild, but how long that’s going to take, I don’t know,” Sharon said. “We may end up having to hunt for an apartment or a place to stay. The fifth wheel is good as long as the weather’s good. But it’s not a permanent housing situation.”
Rob and Sharon were the only ones at the house at the time of the fire and are both OK. Sharon went to the hospital to be checked after breathing in smoke, but is fine, she said. Their cat, which was missing on Monday, was found and is being boarded in Minden.
Sharon said the community has been generous with donations and supportive of the family.
“People have been amazing because really everybody is so warm-hearted and everybody really steps up and lets you know you’re cared about and sometimes you don’t know what to say, but you really appreciate the sentiment,” she said.
“A heartfelt thank you to everybody.”