PEI

P.E.I. couple overwhelmed by demolition costs after fire destroys home

A Charlottetown couple whose home was destroyed by fire say they're overwhelmed by the costs involved to clean up their property.

'We lost everything'

The home Shayna MacDonald and John Wilson lived in is very badly damaged. The couple estimates demolition and cleanup costs will be around $10,000. (Laura Meader/CBC)

A Charlottetown couple whose home was destroyed by fire say they're overwhelmed by the costs involved to clean up their property.

The house was gutted by fire in early July and Shayna MacDonald and her partner John Wilson said they just couldn't afford insurance.

She is on Employment Insurance and Wilson is unable to work due to health problems. 

"We lost everything," she said. "We don't even get $1,200 a month between the two of us."

She said the city gave them warnings telling them they have two weeks to tear down the home — which is "pretty overwhelming" considering it'll cost them about $10,000 to clean up.

MacDonald said she hopes someone will come forward to help them. 

Living in trailer for now

The couple said the Canadian Red Cross put them up in a hotel for a few days after the fire and a local Lions Club gave them some money and lent them a trailer to live in. 

MacDonald and Wilson say they couldn't afford to insure their home. (Laura Meader/CBC )

"It's scary. It's overwhelming," said MacDonald.

The couple is trying to figure out how they're going to pay to get the work done. 

"I think they could have given us a little bit more time," said Wilson. He's trying to get friends to help him, but he said the size of the job is making it difficult. 

'It's been deemed an unsafe structure'

Charlottetown Deputy police Chief Brad MacConnell said the building was assessed by fire services and "it's been deemed an unsafe structure."

The building has been deemed 'dangerous and hazardous,' according to the warning issued by the city. (Laura Meader/CBC)

MacConnell said there are concerns someone could enter the building and be injured. 

"We don't want any transient people, kids to wander in there," he said. 

MacConnell said it's not the city's intention to add more trouble to the couple's lives but police have an obligation to protect the public. 

'Hopefully we can work with the residents'

The notice from the city asked the couple to demolish the building by July 26.

The couple is trying to figure out how they can pay to get the work done. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Charlottetown police said they are hoping to work with the couple to figure out a solution. 

"Hopefully we can work with the residents to achieve what ultimately has to be done in this situation," said MacConnell. 

He said if the couple is unable to get the clean-up done, the city can move — with council approval — to demolish the building. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura Meader is a video journalist for CBC P.E.I.

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