| Jan 11, 2007

Feature Article - November 30, 2006

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January 11, 2007

Fires destroy houses, barn over holidaysby Jeff Green --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The Hinchinbrooke fire crew had no trouble finding a fire that destroyed a barn on the

Clow Road on January 3rd. They had passed the barn on their way to a house fire on ColeLake just six days earlier. The initial fire had destroyed a waterfront home while the owners were away on vacation.

The barn fire did not harm the home of Ron and Carol McCallum, but it took the lives of six animals: two llamas, two alpacas, and two mohair goats.

Ron McCallum recalls that he heard a roar, as if someone was driving up to the house, and when he looked out the window he could see the barn was engulfed in flames. “By the time the fire department got here the back of the barn was starting to collapse,” Ron McCallum told The News this week.


The fire destroyed two tractors, but the McCallums are most upset by the loss of the animals. They moved to Clow Road about 6 years ago after the Nortel plant in Kingston, where they both were working, closed down. After keeping cattle for a short time, Carol became interested in natural fibres and the McCallums began to develop their menagerie of fibre-producing animals.

“Carol spins and weaves and is involved with the spinning and weaving association, and I like the farming part of it, so it was working out really well,” he recalls.

The animals had become like pets to the McCallums, and they are finding hard not having them, and the 100-year-old barn, in their lives. “One of the llamas was called Captain. He was always trying to get extra hay. He always had a chunk of hay in his mouth” Ron McCallum recalls. “The biggest part that hurts, more than anything, is getting up in the morning and not seeing the animals running around the barn.”

The McCallums would like to thank all their neighbours, and the fire and police departments, who have helped them out in the past week.

The house fire on Cole Lake, which is 2.5 kilometres past the McCallum place, took place on Friday, December 29. “The family was away on vacation. It is a rather isolated area, and the fire was discovered by a neighbour across the lake,” MacDonald said. “It was well involved before it was discovered. The house was destroyed, as were two vehicles in the garage.”

Although the fire department knew the family was away, they were concerned because one of the cars in the garage belonged to a relative of the family and they weren’t sure whether she was in the house or not. “Fortunately she had only left the car there, and was somewhere else at the time,” MacDonald said.

The house was heated with a pellet stove, which was not lit, and electrical baseboard heaters. The name of the family has not been released by the fire department as they were still away at the end of last week.

Central Frontenac Fire Chief Mark MacDonald said that the cause of the fires has not been determined, and he does not want to speculate, but “any time two fires happen close together in time and geography there is cause for concern.

“I am not saying anything at this point. The police have information, they know about the fires. They attended the fires, and the Fire Marshall’s Office is involved. It will be difficult to determine the cause in both cases because the buildings were completely destroyed.”

Ten days before the fire at ColeLake, on December 19th, a house burned down on Howes Lake Lane, off of Desert Lake Road near Verona. There was no one home at the time, and the house was completely destroyed. According the South Frontenac Fire Chief Rick Cheseborough, the cause of that fire appears to have been electrical in nature, and that has been confirmed by the insurance company involved.

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