It was a devastating Christmas morning after Malahat resident Bill Patterson heard a noise that he says didn’t seem quite right.
?It was like a pinging sound, I believe what I was hearing was the rapid expansion of the metal from the heat,” he said.
His instinct may have saved their lives as there was no smoke inside the house indicating a fire.
Patterson went outside to see what the noise could be and noticed embers coming from the ceiling surrounding the chimney. He called 911 and within minutes flames ravaged through their home.
“We are so lucky to live where we live. We really are. It doesn’t sound right but we made it out with our lives we made it out with our pets nobody got hurt,? said Patterson’s partner, Sali Roberts.
The fire burned for six hours as firefighters tried everything but in the end, but they were unable to save the structure.
What was once Patterson’s and Robert’s home for decades is now reduced to nothing more than a pile of ashes and memories burnt to a crisp.
“It was just like watching our lives burn up in slow motion,” said Patterson. “You feel like you’re coming to terms with it but then I just look at it again and the tears start coming up again. It?s absolutely devastating.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and while unconfirmed, Patterson believes Pyrolysis could be what started it.
“Over time with the heating and cooling the wood degrades and over the years it can get to the point where it becomes almost like paper and it will ignite without a spark or a flame, just with the heat it can set it off,” he said
While their home was completely destroyed in the fire, Patterson and Roberts say they’ve had help from family, friends and even strangers.
They are extremely grateful to everyone including the firefighters, which they say worked tirelessly to try and save what they could.
“It really does give us faith in human kindness and it really helps a lot to know people care, ” said Patterson.
Patterson and Roberts are living out of a motel room with borrowed clothes on their backs. They say their only comfort is taking care of their farm animals that were unaffected by the fire.
But the daily drive over is wearing Patterson down. He can’t sit for long before experiencing pain in his back.
They are taking the loss one day at a time but they hope to winterize their RV to stay on the property.
“We will be here with the animals, we have to tend to them at least a couple of times a day,” said Patterson.
A go fund me page started by their friends has already reached over half of the 10 thousand dollar goal.
Its a step in the right direction as they vow to rebuild.
“We will bounce back eventually and see where we go, we don’t want to go away from here,” said Patterson.