Family pets lost as Corberrie blaze levels home and barn

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By Karla Kelly FOR THE DIGBY COURIER A structure fire in Corberrie Friday morning resulted in the loss of a family home and barn as well as two family pets belonging to Michael Hersey and girlfriend Lisa Melanson Hersey.

No one was at home at the time of the fire that was called in by a neighbour.

A family member said the Herseys had left for work shortly after 7:30 a.m. They were alerted there at 9:45 a.m. by a call from their neighbour.

The building was engulfed by fire when Havelock and Southville firefighters arrived at the scene and Havelock fire chief Blaine Rodgerson called in aid from fire departments in Weymouth, St. Bernard, Little Brook, Meteghan, Plympton and Brighton-Barton.

Rodgerson thanked the neighbours for working to save what they could out of the barn as firefighters focused their attention on the house. “We had been alerted to the fact that there was a propane tank in the basement so our initial attack was to get the tank and the dog,” he said. “We had a few minutes to get into the house and the Havelock crew attempted to rescue the dog but sadly we were unsuccessful. We could hear the dog bark but it would not come when we called to it. Fortunately the Southville crew were able to retrieve the tank.”

There was a cat that was lost, as well as the black Labrador dog, an older pet named ‘Archie’.

Rodgerson said he knew they would not be able to save the house but thought they could contain the blaze enough to save the attached barn. “When the fire broke through the roof and got into the wind, it took the rest of the structure.”

The Havelock chief had high praise for the volunteer firefighters who worked in freezing temperatures all morning and much of the afternoon. “This was an all-day job and everyone worked as a team to put out the fire,” he said. “Both the house and barn were huge structures and it was a tough job.”

Not only were there firefighters on the scene but members of the Havelock Department’s auxiliary pitched in to provide food and drink.

Auxiliary member Maxine Comeau, whose husband belongs to the Havelock Fire Department, teamed up with Lillian Gaudett to make sandwiches and tea. “My husband called me to make some sandwiches and we fed them twice, the food went like crazy,” said Comeau. “My sister-in-law, Sheila and I had a big thermos of hot tea and I know most of them don’t drink tea but they sure did today.”

Mutual aid fire departments left the scene by mid-afternoon and Havelock continued to douse hotspots until 7:15 p. m. with a 5 a.m. call to return to the scene Saturday morning.

Rodgerson said Friday’s fire added to a difficult three weeks for local firefighters. “In a span of three weeks, our local fire departments have lost two of their members—Eric Comeau of Little Brook Fire Department and Michel Melanson of the Meteghan Fire Department—and today’s fire has definitely added to the tragedy, especially for those of us in Clare as we are closely knit.”

Organizations: Havelock Department, Little Brook Fire Department, Meteghan Fire Department

Geographic location: Southville, Weymouth, Little Brook Clare

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