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Poplar family loses everything in house fire

EVANSVILLE—In true typical 㽶Ƶ Island fashion well over $10,000 has been raised for a Burpee and Mills family who suffered a total loss house fire on Sunday, June 23.

“The support we are getting is overwhelming,” stated Nevin Merrylees who, along with his partner Karly and five-month-old son Kalan, lost everything in the fire at their house off Poplar Road.

Dave Nadeau, who organized the GoFundMe fundraiser explained in a post, “On June 23 Nevin, Karly and five-month-old Kalan lost everything in a fire. Two dogs, a cat, furniture, clothing, food and all baby supplies (crib, highchair, toys, diapers) etc.”

“Nevin is a general contractor and lost thousands of dollars worth of tools as well,” wrote Mr. Nadeau. “All that Nevin has left is a leaf blower and an old skill saw. Without tools, Nevin has lost the ability to earn a living and provide for his family. Pat Noble Lumber and Building Supplies Ltd. (in Gordon) has graciously agreed to sell Nevin and Karly tools at cost to assist during this very difficult time.”

“㽶Ƶ Island is known for helping neighbours, family and being a place that supports each other, so let’s all help get them back on their feet during this difficult time! Please join me in contributing to this GoFundMe initiative and help Nevin, Karly and Kalan rebuild their lives. Please show that amazing Island generosity. Everything helps and whatever you can donate will go a long way.”

Mr. Merrylees, who has two other sons, Joseph, 13, and Matthew, 10, explained that on the day of the fire, “I went to my son’s baseball tournament at 9 am. Later, I got a call from Kyle Noble that there was a fire at my house. I rushed back but I was too late. The car I had in the driveway and everything else we had within 15 feet of the house was gone.”

“I built the home with my bare hands,” said Mr. Merrylees. “It’s tough seeing everything you own gone. I am a carpenter, and all my tools are gone, even the tools I take to work every day were destroyed in the car, hockey sticks, everything is gone.”

The family lost three beloved family pets, two dogs, “Bruno, the oldest, a yellow lab who would have been five, and Piper who would have been two. She was a white lab. And Frank, our cat, who would have been five,” said Mr. Merrylees.

The family had lived in the home for the past four years.

Rick Graham, fire chief for the Burpee and Mills Volunteer Fire Department, told The Expositor the fire team had received a call of the fire at 1:30 pm on June 23. “The building was fully engulfed in flames when we arrived on the scene. He had received a call from Gore Bay fire chief Mike Addison and Mr. Graham paged out all firefighters from the Burpee and Mills and Gore Bay volunteer fire departments.”

“We don’t know what the cause of the fire was but it was not suspicious. There is no need to call in the fire marshal for an investigation.”

The firefighters worked on putting the fire out until about 3:22 pm and spent a few more hours after that in cleaning up and making sure the fire didn’t reignite.

“My wife and I organized the GoFundMe fundraiser,” Mr. Nadeau told The Expositor. He noted that as of June 27, $10,035 had been raised with the goal being to reach $20,000. To donate to the family’s GoFundMe, click .

Article written by

Tom Sasvari
Tom Sasvari
Tom Sasvari serves as the West 㽶Ƶ news editor providing almost all of the editorial content of The 㽶Ƶ West Recorder. Mr. Sasvari is a graduate of North Bay’s Canadore College School of Journalism and has been employed on 㽶Ƶ Island, at the 㽶Ƶ West Recorder, for more than a quarter-century. Mr. Sasvari is also an active community volunteer. His office is in Gore Bay.