Family reeling after losing home, pets and belongings in fire

Rodney Gray is grateful his family is safe, but they're still reeling after losing their home, pets and all their personal belongings in a fire that razed their house this weekend.

"It's not easy, but we'll hold together. We'll get through it," Gray said, from the motel rooms where he and his family are staying for now.

Fire crews were called to the home on Robert's Arm Road, near South Brook in central Newfoundland, just before 10 p.m. Saturday.

They're really in shock. They haven't realized. - Rodney Gray

When firefighters got there, the home was engulfed in flame.

Gray, who owns two farms just a few kilometres apart, said he set up a bonfire Saturday night outside his second property for his 18-year-old daughter and her friends to roast hotdogs.

A few minutes later, still at the second property, he got a call from a neighbour that his house was up in flames. When he pulled up to the scene a short time later, he saw two vehicles that didn't belong to him still next to the house.

He feared the worst.

"It was [terrifying], yes. Pretty emotional," Gray said Monday.

Rennie Normore/Springdale Fire Department

Thankfully, Gray said his daughter and her friends were all safe and no one was in the house at the time of the fire. But sadly, crews were unable to rescue pets trapped inside the burning home.

"They kicked in the door, but the flame just met them in the doorway. They couldn't save anything," Gray told CBC Newfoundland Morning.

"The house just went up pretty fast and in 15 or 20 minutes, the house was all in flames."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, Gray said, but he thinks early indicators point to something electrical being the cause.

'Every day gets better'

Gray said the Canadian Red Cross has put the family up in a nearby motel for a few nights, with the owner of the cabin extending the offer so the family has somewhere to rest their heads.

In the meantime, people are donating items the family needs to function.

"Every day gets better, I guess. Yesterday morning when we went to start our day, we didn't have so much as a toothbrush," Gray said.

Garrett Barry/CBC

"People are so generous. At least this morning we had clothes and everything, because none of us got one item out of the house — never got one thing."

Gray said four of his seven children were living at home, and it's still too early for them to realize just what happened.

"They're really in shock. They haven't realized," he said.

"It's almost like we're camping out, but reality will soon set in that their home is not there to go back to."

Garrett Barry/CBC

Meanwhile, Gray and his family, who have has taken action to help others in their community who are in need, are now finding themselves in need of help.

"I've had the privilege of … walking up to someone's door and being the giver," Gray said through tears. "I just thank the Lord that I had the privilege. I guess, really, now I know what them other people that we were helping really felt.

"Half an hour, that's all it took for us to be on the receiving end."

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