Ringing in New Year’s day with a house fire wasn’t quite what twins Mathew and Dominic Soles had in mind.
Mathew remembered on January 1st of this year, he woke up early in the morning to frozen pipes, “that was a common occurrence for us at that place. I told Dominic, and then went about my day getting ready to go and grab my sister,” whom he was driving back to university in Saskatoon.
He shared that Dominic got up and went underneath their trailer, trying to figure out why the pipes kept freezing, because it was pretty warm that day.
“He figured out that the heat tape wasn’t working. He located a fuse box on the side of the house that is set to run to the underside heat tapes, and he re-set the fuse box and then had gone back inside because the heat tapes kicked on, the pipes were unfrozen, and everything was fine.”
Dominic noted that he was still wearing his winter gear when he came back inside, and he and his friend that was visiting had started playing some games, and that's when they smelled smoke.
“My friend was like, ‘Do you smell that?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I do.’ I look down my hallway and there’s a plume of smoke coming out from the bathroom-master bedroom area on the opposite end of the house. Immediately red flags and alarms are ringing in my head.”
“I hop up and throw on my shoes and I run outside,” said Dominic. “I kick open the panel and on the far side from where the panel is I see the belly insulation on my house is just a wall of flames.”
Mathew relayed at that time he was getting ready to head out of town but his car was having issues, and as he was driving back towards their residence, Dominic contacted him and said, “Hey, the place is on fire, we already called 911, get here as soon as you can.”
Mathew continued, “I was driving up past Tim Horton’s coming around the bend over to my house, and I looked and I could see the smoke coming up. By the time I got there, Dominic was trying to do what he could and the firefighters were there.”
“I didn’t even think,” said Dominic. “I saw the fire and I immediately dove under the house, crawled towards it, crawled through the flames, laid on my back and I started using my feet to kick and break through the belly insulation. When I punched a hole through it and the floor insulation started falling out, I realized it was on fire too.”
“I was just thinking, I can’t have my stuff burn. I can’t have this happen, not on New Year’s.”
Mathew posited, “That’s why they say when there’s a fire to just get out, because there is going to be that reaction to try and save your belongings or to try to put the fire out yourself.”
The siblings said Dominic had managed to put out the fire, but it was still embering, and soon after the first firefighter arrived, it had flash-pointed. The firefighters knew immediately what to do, they said, and put out the flames and got control.
“The firefighters did an amazing job of showing up, understanding the situation and getting it under control,” Dominic said. “And doing their best to mitigate the damages while spraying everything with water.”
Mathew added, “It was an anxiety and adrenalin moment. The first responders had one team set for battling the fire, and the other set for talking with the people that were there and getting the information down, checking everyone for injuries to make sure they were ok. You could tell they cared about what was going on.”
Dominic expressed their gratitude for EMS, and said they were asking the right questions and were attentive and focused. “They checked me over and said I had some smoke in my lungs, and some burns, but I was going to be fine.” He ended up going to the hospital to get treated for carbon monoxide poisoning. Mathew added that he and his friend got checked out too and were ok.
They said that the RCMP made sure they had a place to stay and offered them access to resources, but fortunately they had family in Weyburn that were able to help them out.
The brothers said that a significant portion of their things weren’t damaged, as they were able to be wiped down and washed, and a lot of places in Weyburn saved boxes for them to sort through and clean their smoke damaged items.
Dominic shared that after he posted what happened to them on social media, the community of Weyburn pulled together for them, asking what they needed and people even offered them their spare couches, saying, “I got no use for them, if you need them, have them.”
“When you’re having a really bad time, nice words and kind gestures go further than people realize.”