Nfld. & Labrador

Fire hydrants dug out and marked with blue ribbons to honour boy's life

The mother of a five-year-old boy who died in a house fire in Conception Bay South says she is overwhelmed by the blue ribbons that are popping up on fire hydrants in her community.

Carter Anthony and his grandparents died in a house fire in C.B.S.

Carter Anthony, 5, died in a house fire in Conception Bay South on Jan. 16. (Lindsay Anthony/Submitted)

The mother of a five-year-old boy who died in a house fire in Conception Bay South earlier this month says she is overwhelmed by the blue ribbons that are popping up on fire hydrants in her community.

A  Facebook group has been encouraging people in the province to dig out their fire hydrants and place a blue ribbon on top in order to bring awareness to poor snow clearing and to honour Carter Anthony's life.

Lindsay Anthony said at first she was a little taken aback when she learned a stranger had started a group about her child but that feeling quickly changed. 

A Facebook group is asking people to dig out fire hydrants and place a blue ribbon near them to honour Carter's life. (Andrea Hawkins/Facebook)

"When I opened the group and saw what it was I collapsed in a heap on the kitchen floor, just heavily sobbing because my heart was so full," said Anthony.

"What a beautiful way to honour such a beautiful boy. He would have loved it."

When she got home from the funeral Sunday, Anthony said, a ribbon was tied to the hydrant outside her house.

"It made me smile to see that he touched so many people in his short, short life."

Lindsay Anthony kisses her son Carter. (Submitted by Lindsay Anthony)

The fire, which broke out on Emerald Creek Drive in the Foxtrap area on Jan. 16, killed Carter and his grandparents, Pauline Anthony-Kane and James Kane.

"They were absolutely the best grandparents," Anthony said. 

Carter's grandparents, Pauline Anthony-Kane and James Kane, were also killed in the fire. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

Facebook group growing

Kathryn Nichol, who doesn't know the family, says she felt compelled to do something after the tragic event.

After the fire, sources told CBC News the nearest fire hydrant was encased in snow and ice. CBC News has reached out to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary for more information.

"My husband and I had gone around our neighbourhood and shovelled out a few of our fire hydrants.… I couldn't help but think of Carter as we were doing this," said Nichol.

More than 1,000 people have now joined the group, and dozens of posts show people shovelling out hydrants in their area, topped them with a blue bow.

"I just think it's really important to get them clear. Time is everything when there is fire happening."

Anthony said her nine-year-old son has been touched by the generosity of others. 

"He said, 'Well, Mommy, that is good because Carter might save a life,'" said Anthony.

Who's responsible for hydrant clearing?

The Town of Conception Bay South says roads and sidewalks are the priority for snow clearing, and fire hydrants are addressed by town staff when the resources become available.

The town said in an email that there are about 1,300 hydrants in C.B.S. so they ask residents "to please do their part in keeping the hydrant near their house accessible."

More acts of generosity

The day after Anthony's son was killed, the Avalon got hit with a record snowfall, making it impossible for her mother to dig out her car in order to go to the wake. 

Anthony said she posted on social media for help, and within the hour, complete strangers had the vehicle in perfect shape. 

"I am so proud he touched so many people like that."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Janelle Kelly