| May 18, 2006


Feature Article - May 18, 2006

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Feature Article - May 18, 2006

Tragic fire inTichborne

by Jeff Green

A fire in Tichborne took the life of 81-year-old Lorena Bevans last Friday evening, May 12, 2006.

The fire started in the large wood frame home that Lorena’s sister Eleanor had lived in for the past 40 years. Lorena had been living with her sister for the past 15 years. The two women were self sufficient but they received assistance from time to time from Eleanor’s two sons, Jack and Bill, who live very close by.

Just after 8:00 pm, Eleanor White noticed that a fire had started underneath her kitchen counter. She phoned her son Bill, who looked out his window and could see the smoke from the fire. Bill’s partner Joyce Lewis phoned 911 and ran to get Bill’s brother Jack while Bill rushed over to rescue his mother and aunt.

“By the time I got Jack and looked over at the house, the side was already covered in flames,” Joyce Lewis recalled later. “It all happened so fast.”

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Eleanor was safely out of the building, and Bill began to try and find his aunt Lorena. He went to her window and tried to call her, to no avail. Frantically, he tried to get a garden hose from the basement to clear a path to her.

Having lived in the house himself for many years Bill knew his way around, but by this time poisonous smoke was pouring through the building. He entered the main floor, punched a hole in his aunt’s bedroom wall, and managed to get into the room, even crawling onto her bed to see if she was in it, but never found her.

In the end, Bill only escaped himself by crawling out of the building on all fours to keep his head under the smoke.

“He deserves a medal for what he tried to do,” Central Frontenac Deputy Fire Chief (Hinchinbrooke) Paul Lowery said of the efforts made by Bill White to save his aunt’s life.

Fire crews from Hinchinbrooke, Oso and Mountain Grove responded to the call quickly, and put into practice a firefighting technique that has recently been employed in Central Frontenac. A pumper truck went to the house and a second pumper stayed by the road by two portable water tanks. A high volume hose began pumping water from the pumper at the road to the pumper at the house. Two other trucks ferried water from Eagle Lake to keep the portable tanks full.

“This gave us an uninterrupted flow of water,” said Paul Lowery.

The fire was brought under control within 20 minutes, although crews remained on the scene for another 18 hours to check for hot spots and secure the site. Lorena Bevans’ body was recovered early on Saturday afternoon.

An officer from the Ontario Fire Marshall’s office arrived on site and the cause of the fire remains under investigation. “The fire, which appears to have started in the kitchen area, is not believed to be suspicious,” says a press statement from the Ontario Provincial Police.

Lorena Bevans did not go out of the house often, and had difficulty walking, but she was able to get around.

“She was a sweet old lady,” was how Bill White described his Aunt Lorena.

She is survived by her daughter Marie Gray and three grandchildren.

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