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  • Trevor Greenway

Edelweiss couple loses home of 43 years to fire

Fernand Baril said he’s lucky to be alive after his house exploded at the moment he frantically tried to get in the front door and try to stop the fire inside.

Baril, 77, and his wife Madeleine Dubuc were shovelling snow outside their Edelweiss home at Chemin du P’tit Canada Jan. 13 when they noticed flames and black smoke billowing from their chimney at around 2:30 p.m. Baril said he sent his wife to call for help from nearby neighbours, while he tried to get into the house to see how bad the situation was.

But as he approached the front door, an explosion knocked the elderly man to the ground.

“As I reached the second or third stair, there was an explosion and the glass shattered, and I was knocked on my back away from the house,” Baril told the Low Down, still shaken from the incident. “I got burns on my face and my eyes, and my winter coat and hat had little burns, like cigarette burns.” He was later taken to emergency to be treated for minor burns on his face and hands, as well as smoke inhalation.

Baril said firefighters told him that they believe the fire started in the oil furnace and spread quickly to the electrical panel and through the walls of the house.

“If I would have entered the house, which I didn’t, they said that I would probably be deceased right now,” added Baril. “I’m alive today, and that’s all that matters.”