A woman whose parents were left homeless following a fire on Monday night in Spaniard's Bay says they were unintended victims of the controversy that has divided the town for the past month.

Sherrie Percey believes her childhood home could have been spared some damage if the local fire department had still been operational.

Her parents, Gordon and Effie Menchions, lost their 50-year-old home in the fire.

The incident was the first serious emergency in Spaniard`s Bay since the majority of the town`s all-volunteer fire department quit in response to sexual harassment allegations by Brenda Seymour last month.

While the department is slowly rebuilding, it`s not yet ready to respond to calls. On Monday, the first responders at the fire were from the neighbouring Bay Roberts Fire Department.

Sherrie Percey

Sherrie Percey believes her childhood home could have been spared some of the damage if the local fire department was operational. (Cal Tobin/CBC)

Percey said the damage would have been less extensive if the town still had a working fire department.

"It's just sad. We should have our fire department that was originally trained and not waste money on another fire department. Get them back."

"A lot of people in the area know us, this fire could have been put out quicker."

Adam Norman

Bay Roberts fire Chief Adam Norman says his fire department acted quickly to put out the fire.

But Bay Roberts fire Chief Adam Norman said that is simply not the case.

He said firefighters were on the scene within seven minutes of the first call.

"I think there are people making misinformed statements regarding this fire," he said.

"We were here in the fire hall when we responded. I don't think anybody could have got there any quicker."

Spaniard's Bay Deputy Mayor Paul Brazil also said he doesn't think the Bay Roberts Fire Department is to blame for the response to the fire.

"I think the firefighters [from Spaniard's Bay], the ones passing in the keys, did it in haste and we all know that a lot of them had second thoughts in that."

Brazil hopes that the incident will show the Spaniard's Bay fire department how important it is to co-operate. 

He said ongoing training is required before the fire department is back in action.

The couple who lost their home did have insurance, but their daughter said she is raising money to help them deal with unexpected expenses.


  • A prior version of this article included a headline that indicated Sherrie Percey blamed Spaniard's Bay for the loss of her parents' home. This is not correct.
    Feb 29, 2016 9:02 AM NT
With files from Terry Roberts