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Midland family moves into new home Friday after damaging blaze

Wendy Crawford spent the day shopping for new furniture to replace what was lost in early-morning fire

Wendy Crawford is busy today moving into a new place and shopping for furniture.

Deciding to do these things Friday became necessary following a fire earlier this month that caused major damage to the Midland home she shared with her three children: Hunter, 16, Carsten, nine, and Alexa, seven.

“I’m getting better each day and have a new place,” she says, referring to her new Simcoe Urban Native Housing abode.

Crawford says the fire started in her neighbour’s garage before quickly spreading to her attached garage and eventually her Rose Crescent home shortly after midnight on September 15.

Crawford says the fire and subsequent extinguishing by firefighters caused significant smoke and water damage. During an interview with MidlandToday, she declined to say, however, whether she had tenant’s insurance.

And while Crawford normally goes to sleep at midnight, she says that for some reason she stayed up on this particular night and went downstairs to check on her laundry. She says she opened the dryer and noticed a strong burning smell.

“My youngest son came down and said, ‘Mom, what’s that smell?’” Crawford says, noting she then went to her front door and noticed large plumes of smoke.

“I ran upstairs and woke up my other children.”

Ritch Lowell, Midland’s deputy fire chief, says the cause of the blaze that also left a tenant in an adjacent home forced to find new accommodation hasn’t yet been determined.

“The fire is not considered suspicious,” Lowell says, noting no one was injured during the fire that drew 29 firefighters from both Midland and Penetanguishene.

Firefighters from both departments remained on the scene for about four and half hours, according to Lowell, who added that a damage estimate is also still being determined.

And while things are improving for Crawford and her children, she says that at times they find themselves thinking back to that fateful night.

“We’re all having some after effects,” Crawford says, adding she suspects it might be a form of PTSD.

“I just spent four years figuring out my Mom’s final wishes, then we had the pandemic and now this,” Crawford says. “I’m just glad it didn’t happen in the winter.”


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Andrew Philips

About the Author: Andrew Philips

Editor Andrew Philips is a multiple award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in some of the country’s most respected news outlets. Originally from Midland, Philips returned to the area from Québec City a decade ago.
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