On July 5th, Catherine and Ian suffered a horrific traumatic accident – they were seriously injured in a house fire that quickly spread, burning their home to the ground. And with no insurance, they lost everything.
Catherine suffered smoke damage and serious burns on her feet, running through the flames to escape into the yard. She went to the Burn Unit for a couple of weeks as the skin healed on her feet and one hand, then stayed in a shelter awhile. She walked in a shuffle for a few weeks after that. Today, everything but her voice is back to normal.
Ian’s upper body was severely burned. He spent a month in intensive care, the first 2 weeks of which he was put into a coma and skin was grafted from his legs onto his burned arms and hands. After another 2 weeks in the Burn Unit, he could walk and move his arms and fingers. He has months of work ahead, as his nerves slowly grow back, and he strives to be able to paint again.
Many of Ian’s finished paintings and all of his painting supplies were lost. Here is the CBC news report, which includes photos of some of Ian’s work: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/artist-burn-fundraising-1.4781180
Here is the Global news report, which includes a video of the charred remains of their house: https://globalnews.ca/news/4402238/n-b-artist-recovering-after-fire
Catherin and Ian moved to the countryside of New Brunswick in 2015 to live their artistic dreams in a simple, non-materialistic lifestyle. Their new neighbours and community, as well as other local artists, have offered incredible day-to-day support and assistance, including a temporary place to live and some monetary aid.
We are asking for your financial assistance to help them re-build their home. Your donation will help to turn this significant setback into a positive experience of caring and sharing. Thank you in advance… thank you very much… for any amount you are able to donate.
With love and kindness to you all.
Here is Catherine's description of the night of the fire
I was taking a nap while Ian started cooking a poutine supper. I was woken by a loud POUFF sound, like a soft explosion. I opened my eyes and thought “Why are the walls orange?”
I sat up to see vile black smoke piling in through the bedroom doorway, and started choking and tearing up as it billowed into my face. Ian had covered a pot on the stove, containing a small amount of sunflower oil. Next thing he knew there was an explosion, and a fireball raced up the wall behind the stove and tore across the ceiling, scattering sparks and flames as it went.
I could hear Ian running back and forth in the kitchen. In the bedroom I stood up next to the bed, but started choking even worse. I fell down to the floor like you're supposed to, but guess what, you can't breathe down there either, so I stood up again.
There were flames all across the doorway, and the kitchen was a wall of orange light. Black smoke continued pouring in, and in seconds I couldn't even see. Ian screamed for me to throw him a blanket. I was standing right beside blankets but I couldn't see anything anymore. I groped until I found one, and kind of shoved it in his general direction. I still don't know if he got it or not. Then he was gone, and I stood with one idea in my mind: “If I stand here, I am going to die.”
I was afraid to run through those flames across the door, but I did because I was more afraid to stay. I got out our back door and groped my way out through the woodshed, the bedsheet still wrapped around me. I could feel strips flapping up and down on the bottom of my feet as I scuttled along, but they didn't hurt yet.
Across the porch I saw bloody footprints. Ian came out of the darkness, looking like something out of a slasher movie, the skin hanging in strips from his hands. I tore at the fence and clambered over it. The whole house was in flames. This all took literally minutes.
I wasn't thinking; I spotted the door and reached in, grabbing a drive from our computer that was right beside the door. Then I tried to call my cat, but he did not come. I searched desperately for our garden hose, but when I turned the nozzle, only a couple of drips came out. "The power's gone!" Ian yelled.
I could do nothing but watch our house burn down. So I threw my head back and screamed over and over, to the stars.
Ian was rolling on the ground, screaming. From out of the darkness, neighbours started appearing. They were talking, saying comforting things and giving instructions, but I don't remember what they said, just that they looked like angels. I fell down and rolled across the road as more cars drove up. At some point the paramedics lifted me into the ambulance. My eyes were closed so I didn't see them, but I will never forget the beauty of their voices.
So that's how it was.