An evening that started out as a routine night of sewing and baseball watching turned into tragedy for an elderly Deer Park couple. The home of Marg and Danny Roller and all of their possessions were destroyed by fire April 12.
Marg Roller described what happened: “I heard a large bang, and came out of the room thinking my husband had fallen. There were literally balls of fire all over the hardwood floor on the top floor of the house. It was coming from the roof. The roof was well involved and I had not heard it because I am slightly deaf.”
The couple worked frantically to put the fire out, but the combination of a chimney fire and shake roof proved to be too much as the fire spread quickly.
Their home is outside of the fire protection area, so there was no fire department to respond. A neighbour with a water tanker truck came to the scene, but the house was too far gone to save.
Because the Rollers spent those precious minutes trying to put out the fire and save the house, they ran out of time to salvage any belongings. They left with the clothes on their backs, Marg’s purse and Danny’s wallet. Danny did not even have shoes on his feet, just slippers.
Danny built the house about 30 years ago.
“I think my husband has lost more because this was his dream,” Marg said. “To be up in the bush, generate our own power, be self sufficient.”
They estimate their losses at over $300,000 and do not have insurance that will cover the loss.
The Rollers have been overwhelmed with all of the help and support the community has offered. They are amazed at how everyone from the ambulance attendant to support workers has been so kind and generous.
“We are fine. We have a really strong faith. I know the Lord was leading us to people who could help every time we turned around. It is just amazing how many people have been in our way to give us a hand.
“We thank the Lord every day. We are both fine. We are physically fine, we’re mentally fine, we’re spiritually fine.” Marg said. With a laugh she added: “We’re good. We’re just low on the stuff end of things.”
They have been staying at the Twin Rivers Motel, but have received assistance in locating a small place in Blueberry to rent after the first of the month.
The Rollers would like to thank those who have helped, including John and Edith Ericson, Kathleen Wilkes, Mary-Ann Kelly, Sandi McCreight, Nicole Purves, Kristein Johnson, Thelman and Gerry Ehman, St. David’s Thrift Store, Castlegar and District Community Services and the Red Cross.