The cause for the suspicious fire in early June that ravaged homes in the Fireside community has yet to be determined.
The Cochrane RCMP General Investigation Section and the Cochrane Fire Department said that while they continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the fire, they invite the public to share any tips relating to the incident.
“Because this fire was so large and has a damage estimate in excess of $2 million, a thorough investigation is underway, which can take time,” said Cst. Kary Moore with the Cochrane RCMP.
Meanwhile, many residents have not yet returned home.
Gillian Fisher – who owns 604 Fireside View, which was heavily impacted by the fire and is next door to the house that burned down completely – is one of them.
“People just don’t realize, they say ‘it’s good that you’re safe,’ which is true,” she said. “But unless you’ve actually been in this situation you don’t know what it’s like – you’re suddenly out of your house in your night clothes and your slippers and you have nothing to go back to.”
During the evening of the blaze, Fisher had two guests staying at her home – her sister and brother-in-law who were on day two of their visit from the United Kingdom. The three were able to stay at Fisher’s daughter’s home for a week before the couple continued their journey onto Banff and beyond – leaving Fisher to piece together her long list of lost belongings.
“I’ve got some clothes that the restoration and renovation company did a rush job with dry cleaning so that I would have something to wear.”
Other salvageable items included a TV, some small kitchen appliances and bedding. Most of the damage came from water while extinguishing the fire and items like her mattress have been written off.
“Furniture-wise I’m using camping chairs and my grandson’s bed,” she said with a touch of humour. She has a mattress on the way and her insurance has also provided her with some assistance in repurchasing other items.
Fisher said she hasn’t been told when the repairs would be complete or when she can move back in. For now, she is currently renting an apartment in the community of Fireside, paid by her insurance company.
“It must be awful for the family living in number 605 (burned down completely), they just moved in and all their furniture was new, at least I’ve got the hope that I’ll get most of mine back.”
The Cochrane RCMP are actively seeking input from the community about this incident. Anyone who observed any suspicious activity in the Fireside subdivision during the early morning hours of June 6, 2018 are asked to please contact the Cochrane RCMP at 403-851-8000.