Large fire destroys Erin home; family “˜saved”™ by smoke detectors

A young family managed to escape unharmed, but a large fire on Sept. 7 destroyed their rural home.

“They were very lucky … Working smoke detectors saved their lives,” Fire Chief Dan Callaghan told the Advertiser the morning after the fire on the 1st Line northwest of Ospringe.

Callaghan explained three members of the family, including one child, a father and an expectant mother, were in bed on Monday shortly before 10pm when smoke detectors alerted them of a fire in the garage.

All three family members, plus four pets, managed to escape the two-storey home unharmed, Callaghan said.

The fire department received the call at 9:54pm and 31 firefighters from the Erin and Hillsburgh fire stations responded to the scene.

“It was fully involved when we got here,” Callaghan said, adding the fire “burned pretty fast” through the “vinyl-cladded wood structure.”

He noted firefighters from the Guelph-Eramosa department were also called to the scene under a mutual aid agreement, but they were not needed.

Firefighters remained on the scene until about 3 or 4am to extinguish “hot spots,” Callaghan added.

Extended family members at the scene on Monday morning were visibly upset, including one woman who confirmed nobody was injured in the blaze. Callaghan said that is the only positive after such a devastating fire.

“If there’s one good thing to take away from this, it’s that the home had working smoke detectors,” he said.

Callaghan estimated the damage from the fire at about $500,000. He said the cause is still under investigation “through consultation” with the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management, but he noted the Fire Marshal’s office will not be attending the scene in person.

Anyone with information regarding the fire can contact the Wellington County OPP at 1-888-310-1122. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or submit a tip on-line at