It was a startling way to be awakened from her sleep at 4:50 a.m. on Monday — the beginning of a day that just seemed all too surreal to her.
Nancy Greene got the call at that time that the former Piccadilly RCMP detachment she had purchased and was getting refurbished into a house was up in flames.
“It was a beautiful location and (her and her husband) were getting it turned into a beautiful home,” she said of the structure that was completely gutted in the fire.
“Now we have to start over.”
Greene’s husband is still working in Ontario and she was staying with her mother while the home was being prepared. She had already moved in a lot of new furniture that she purchased over time and said there were some things lost that can’t be replaced, including photographs and things from growing up.
“It’s devastating. I went to work but had to leave,” she said of her hair salon job.
Greene said where it was a commercial building with offices, they were getting the renovations done to transform it into a home. After it was vacated by the RCMP when regionalization took place decades ago, the Port au Port Economic Development Association operated out of the building for a while.
She said she has no idea what caused the fire. She said that insurance was carried on the property.
Robert Humby, who lives directly across the road from the building, said he got up around 4 a.m. to go to the washroom.
He said he returned to bed and it was a short time later that he thought there was a vehicle parked on the side of the road in front of his home with a red blinking light. When he got up to have a look he noticed the light instead was the building on fire.
“It was blazing pretty well then, with flankers going into the air,” he said.
Concerned for women living in two homes downwind from the fire and across the street from him, he got dressed and went over to let them know about the fire just in case it spread toward their homes, but luckily they never had to leave their homes.
Firefighters from Lourdes Regional Fire Department responded to the scene after getting a call at 4:43 a.m. and left the scene at sometime between 7 to 7:30 a.m. after getting the fire under control, with no fear of it spreading.
Humby believes the fire could have been a lot worse had the building not had a brick exterior, which prevented it from spreading.
One gable end of the building collapsed during the fire, while the other end, where the garage was located, was still standing but the feeling was it could collapse any time.
Const. Cory Perrier of the Bay St. George RCMP would only say the fire is under investigation and the cause wasn’t known.