Had it been any other time of day, Darryl Klopstra and his wife Alice may not have made it out of a fire that claimed their home.
In the mid-afternoon of Sept. 3 Klopstra was working on some equipment at his Longvista Transport shop just west of the Wolf Creek Golf Course. His wife Alice was doing some housework in their home when a passing motorist stopped and said his home was on fire. A quick look at the house and Klopstra said he saw smoke emanating out of the vents on the roof.
“There was no sign of fire in the house because it was totally clear inside,” said Klopstra.
Initially Klopstra felt the danger wasn’t too high as the smoke alarms had not sensed any smoke. He then took his investigations to the attic door. “I could hear something in the attic. Almost sounded like mice or insects rolling around, which was basically a crackling of fire up there.”
He flipped open the attic door and saw hot, bright orange flames had taken over the attic space. Klopstra grabbed a fire extinguisher and sprayed it into the attic, which stopped the flames for a few seconds. The process was repeated a few times but the heat was enough to rekindle the flame.
By using the fire extinguishers Klopstra felt he had bought enough time.
“I really didn’t think the house was going to burn down at that point yet,” he explained.
At this point in discussion with the fire department over the phone, Klopstra and his wife were told to get out of the house. They did so and grabbed a few family valuables such as family photos and albums. He had a few seconds to grab his motorbike and bicycles out of the garage but it didn’t take long for the flames to envelope the home.
He credits his wife Alice for the insight to grab their home computer, which has many work related materials in it. “I’m very thankful for that.”
“By the time they were spraying water the attic had completely filled with fire and the shingles had started on fire above the attic,” said Klopstra.
“Within a short time the roof collapsed in the house.”
All that was left was a portion of some walls and the back porch was mostly intact.
What stands out the most for Klopstra is that fire is powerful and, “totally out of our control.”
Had the fire happened in the middle of the night, the outcome might have turned out differently. The flames in the attic appear to have started above his bedroom and if the fire occurred in the middle of the night there is a strong possibility he and Alice wouldn’t have been aware of it.
The roof collapsed right above his bedroom.
Despite the loss, there is gratitude in what he and his family have. “I have not felt angry…I feel thankful for the 36 years that I have been given to live in that house.”
Another strong feeling from the fire for Klopstra is that there are certain things people do not have control over. Fire is one of them.
“As much as I thought I was in control and as much as I thought that this was all mine; it’s not.”
He said the fire highlighted that the last 36 years have been full of good memories. “We’re still very thankful for everything we have enjoyed over the years and so knowing that, I’m not afraid of the future.”