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‘They are angels’: P.E.I. teens, man save elderly couple in house fire

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — A P.E.I. man is thanking three Islanders for saving the lives of his mom and stepfather after a hearth destroyed their residence in Portage on Nov. 19.

“I don’t know what would have occurred if not for these two younger boys and the person,’’ Boyd Cornish instructed SaltWire Community in a phone interview on Nov. 21. “I truthfully don’t. Mother and Lorne have been sleeping. The smoke may need took them earlier than something.’’

Cornish, 48, of Bloomfield mentioned he was woke up within the early morning hours of Nov. 19 by a textual content from his sister that their mom’s home was on hearth.

Cornish mentioned he jumped in his automotive and obtained there as quick as he may.

When he arrived, his mom, Ruth Cornish, and his stepfather, Lorne (Cricket) Gillis, have been outdoors as hearth consumed the home and workshops.

On the street

John Rochford of Alberton seen the smoke and flames whereas he was driving down the freeway. Rochford pulled into the yard and known as 911.

The O’Leary, West Level and Tyne Valley hearth departments responded. Davis Gallant, a captain with the O’Leary Fireplace Division, mentioned the 911 name got here in at 1:30 a.m.

Nevertheless, earlier than firefighters arrived, the 2 youngsters jumped into motion.

Lorne (Cricket) Gillis, left, and Ruth Cornish, right, pose with Bryden Oliver, second from left, and Clay Rayner, second from right, who helped them escape a fire that consumed their home on Nov. 19.  - Contributed
Lorne (Cricket) Gillis, left, and Ruth Cornish, proper, pose with Bryden Oliver, second from left, and Clay Rayner, second from proper, who helped them escape a hearth that consumed their residence on Nov. 19. – Contributed

Simply behind Rochford, Clay Rayner, 16, of Alberton and Bryden Oliver, 17, of Greenmount-Montrose have been heading residence from Tyne Valley when Clay, who was driving, noticed smoke and flames coming from the Portage residence.

“I locked on the brakes and turned to see what was occurring,’’ Clay mentioned, including that when he and Bryden obtained to the home, Rochford had already known as 911.

Must know

Following is details about fundraisers for Lorne (Cricket) Gillis and Ruth Cornish of Portage:

• GoFundMe drives: Seek for Boyd Cornish or Michelle MacDonald to contribute.

“I requested (John) if anybody was inside and he didn’t know, so I began banging on the door and the home windows. The door was locked, so I banged on the doorways attempting to wake them up. Each barns on both aspect of home have been on hearth and it was catching on to the home.’’

Clay, a pupil at Westisle Composite Excessive Faculty in Elmsdale, mentioned when Lorne and Ruth got here to the door neither knew the barns and home have been burning.

Lorne and Ruth obtained out safely, however Ruth instructed Clay her three cats and all of the couple’s remedy have been nonetheless inside. Clay mentioned he bumped into the home and couldn’t discover the cats. Nevertheless, he did save all of the remedy.

The cats perished within the hearth

“Proper now, I’m simply glad we have been in the correct place on the proper time as a result of I do know they might have slept proper by means of it,’’ Clay mentioned. “If we had come down the street 30 seconds later it may have been quite a bit worse.

“We have been simply attempting to do the correct factor,’’ mentioned Bryden, additionally a pupil at Westisle. “I didn’t even discover (the hearth), to be sincere, Clay did. I don’t need to be portrayed as a hero, understanding that these two aged individuals are and not using a residence. We’re simply grateful that we have been there.’’

Gallant mentioned the O’Leary division arrived with 15 firefighters and 5 vehicles.

“Quickly after we realized we wanted extra manpower and water, so we known as in mutual support from Tyne Valley and West Level,” Gallant mentioned, including that 30 firefighters in whole battled the blaze.

Gallant added that each barns have been engulfed and the hearth was seeping into the home when firefighters arrived.

The charred remains of the home of Lorne (Cricket) Gillis and Ruth Cornish of Portage are pictured following a fire the destroyed the home and barns on Nov. 19.  - Contributed
The charred stays of the house of Lorne (Cricket) Gillis and Ruth Cornish of Portage are pictured following a hearth the destroyed the house and barns on Nov. 19. – Contributed

Boyd mentioned John, Clay and Bryden are greater than heroes.

“There aren’t sufficient thanks’s,’’ Boyd mentioned. “They’re angels, in my eyes. You may substitute a home and so they do intend on rebuilding, however I can’t substitute my mom.’’

Boyd additionally wished to offer a shout-out to members of the O’Leary Fireplace Division for locating and shopping for their cats.

Gallant mentioned the state of affairs may have performed out a lot in a different way with out the actions of Rochford or the 2 boys.

“Completely,” Gallant mentioned.

Neither the home nor the barns have been insured. Lorne, a carpenter by commerce, additionally misplaced all his instruments within the hearth.

Boyd mentioned Lorne and Ruth have been put up in a resort for 3 nights by the Canadian Pink Cross.

A former relative of Lorne’s has additionally donated a camper the place the couple will transfer to in Nov. 22.

The house and barns belonging to Lorne (Cricket) Gillis and Ruth Cornish of Portage are pictured in flames on Nov. 19.  - Contributed
The home and barns belonging to Lorne (Cricket) Gillis and Ruth Cornish of Portage are pictured in flames on Nov. 19. – Contributed

Boyd mentioned two GoFundMe drives have been arrange, and a profit is within the strategy of being organized.

“Proper now, they want the fundamentals like garments and meals,’’ Boyd mentioned.

Clay mentioned he can be serving to out.

“I visited Lorne and Ruth (Nov. 20) and I used to be speaking to them about couches and tables and dressers,’’ Clay mentioned. “I’m going to get one thing for them.’’

Gallant mentioned the hearth began in one of many barns, including that the trigger is listed as undetermined.

“There was a wooden heating supply in one of many barns, however I do not know if it was in use or not,” Gallant mentioned.

The hearth captain added that firefighters have been on scene till 5:30 a.m. Nov. 19, partially as a result of the hearth was troublesome to place out.

“One of many barns was filled with firewood, in order that offered some challenges.”

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