Nova Scotia

Annapolis Royal community helps family mend home damaged in fire

The community of Annapolis Royal, N.S., is helping a family repair a home that was badly damaged by fire this spring.

'They're our neighbours and our friends and it was the right thing to do,' says manager of hardware store

A worker standing on scaffolding scrubbing soot off the wall in the Salsman home.
The Annapolis Royal community is coming together to help a family dealing with the aftermath of a fire. (Salsman Family)

The community of Annapolis Royal, N.S., is helping a family repair a home that was badly damaged by fire this spring.

"We're lucky we live in Nova Scotia and rural Nova Scotia in particular," said Scott Flinn, manager of Fraser's Pro Home Centre — a Timber Mart dealer — in Granville Ferry, N.S.

"They're our neighbours and our friends and it was the right thing to do."

Flinn is part of the group that came together to help the Salsman family after the fire. He said the family — owners of the Bistro East restaurant in Annapolis Royal — was in the process of building their forever home.

The family hoped to be moved in before their new baby arrived. But on April 19 — a few days before they were supposed to move in — a fire broke out on the main floor.

"Because Morgan, the husband, had the wherewithal to close the door when he visited the house [that] morning … the local fire department said the structure was saved," Flinn said.

There was a lot of smoke damage to the home, Flinn said, and some fire damage to one side.

A vacant room with grey walls and grey floors.
This is what the main floor looked like after the fire. (Salsman Family)
Exposed wooden ceiling beams and a pile of ash on the floor.
Some of the ceiling over the main floor needed to be ripped out. (Salsman Family)

"It wasn't catastrophic but it certainly was enough to derail the family and really put some hardship financially on them," Flinn said.

He said the fire is suspected to have started in the ceiling of the main floor bathroom. The fire gutted the master bedroom and what would have been the nursery and destroyed some doors and windows. No official cause of the fire has been determined.

"To see the pictures, it's almost astounding the property was not totally lost because the newly painted white walls were charred black," Flinn said. "Family, friends, people in the community came and scrubbed the walls.

A person mops soot off the floor inside the Salsman home.
The house was not insured at the time of the fire. (Salsman Family)

"They had propane burners with hot water just trying to refresh the buckets. Almost every time they put a rag in the bucket they would have to change the water. It was a huge community effort to scrub the walls down to top coat the walls again."

A GoFundMe page set up to help the family has raised more than $10,000. The GoFundMe page says the home, while nearly completed, was uninsured.

The Salsmans had bought most of their home building materials from Fraser's Pro Home Centre.

When the company heard about the fire, the owners allowed staff to help give back. They were able to contact the vendors and replace a lot of what was damaged at no charge to the family.

Grateful for support

The family was grateful for all the community support after the fire.

"It's been overwhelming for all of us," said John Buckler, stepfather of Janice Salsman.

Buckler said Janice and Morgan are doing well with their newborn, who arrived on June 22. While the house should be finished in two weeks, he said they're likely going to wait a little longer to move in.

"Morgan is going to be working on the house after a little while. They're going to take a little break and look after the baby," said Buckler.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anjuli Patil

Reporter

Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.

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