A Springhouse resident living on Dog Creek Road lost everything to a house fire an hour after midnight on Monday, Dec. 17.
Maryann Ron, 61, said she knew that trailers burned quickly, but she was shocked how fast her double wide trailer was destroyed.
“I was sleeping when my smoke alarm went off about 15 minutes before one,” Ron said from her brother Lee Todd’s home in Williams Lake Monday evening.
“I could see a bit of flames by the living room but I didn’t even go that way. I grabbed my cat Garfield, put on some shoes, and ran outside.”
She placed her cat in her truck and moved it away from the fire and began calling on her cell phone for help.
Springhouse is about a 30-minute drive south of Williams Lake and there is no fire protection service there.
“Within 15 minutes there was nothing left of the trailer,” she said.
Ron has fire insurance and met with an adjuster on Monday at noon.
“It has all happened so fast,” she added. “I was surprised how quickly they came down from Prince George and met with me.”
Ron only purchased the double-wide trailer in September of this year after relocating back to the Cariboo from Alberta in the summer.
She had to wait for the wildfire evacuation orders and alerts to lift in the area due to the Mayfield fire before she could purchase the home and insurance.
“I had been away for 30 years and it was time to come home,” Ron said of what drew her back to the region.
“People have been coming out of the woodwork to help me. It’s been amazing. I did not know anybody in Springhouse.”
Laurie Brown lives two doors down from Ron and said another neighbour has been collecting donations.
“She could use gas cards because her horses are still here and she will be travelling back and forth to see them,” Brown said.
Brown said her dad called her about the fire from Williams Lake just before 1 a.m. and by the time she and her husband got there it was half-engulfed.
“It was sad to watch because there’s nothing you can do,” she said. “We have no fire department and nothing to help.”
There are trees near the house they were concerned would catch on fire, so they were prepared and ready, just in case, she added.
“Literally, the flames were shooting 60 to 80 feet like a tornado. It was just fluky and thank God the wind was blowing toward town versus toward out of town because it would have shifted to her shed and hay building that she feeds her horses from. That would have lit up in two seconds.”
Brown said she and her husband, some other neighbours and Ron’s family stayed on scene until about 3 a.m.
Williams Lake RCMP Staff Sgt. Del Byron said members also arrived at the scene as they were en route back to Williams Lake at about 1:10 a.m. and that police did not consider the fire suspicious.
“The horses were a little freaked out last night, but this morning I went over about 8 a.m. and they came to me and seemed to be OK,” Brown said, noting Ron might need a bale of hay because the hay was close to the house and they sprayed it to wet it down.
“The hay is still there and usable, but I don’t know if it will rot or freeze now that it’s getting colder.”
Brown works at Three Corners Health on First Avenue North and said if anyone wants to make donations for Ron they can contact her there.
“I’m picking up things from the community out here as well that I will be taking in. She doesn’t need household things right now because she is staying with family for the time being.”
Ron said by Monday evening she still had not slept.
“It sucks, and it’s unfortunate, but I will get going again,” she said. “This is life.”