Tuesday, September 27, 2011

TOP STORY >> Fire victims receive help

Leader staff writer

Esther Canoy is thankful to the people who helped her on Sept. 15, the night a fire burned her house down at 5747 Hwy. 294 in Lonoke County near Jacksonville.

Around 10:30 p.m., Canoy and her four grandchildren—two 4-year-olds and two 2-year-olds— were in her bedroom watching SpongeBob SquarePants while having some popcorn and Juicy Juice.

Canoy went to the kitchen and heard the smoke detectors go off. Then she saw the bedroom was on fire.

“Everything happened so fast. I’ve never had problems with my house. I just don’t understand,” she said.

“I had a fire extinguisher, but the fire was spreading so fast. The kids were standing against the wall. I told them to get out of there,” Canoy said.

When she threw water on the fire, the flames climbed up the drapes and the windows cracked. Canoy and her grandchildren escaped unharmed.

Canoy said she owes a great deal of thanks to her neighbors.

“Verna and Carl Thompson, I couldn’t ask for better neighbors or friends,” she said.

They take in her mail and watch over her property.

“The Kisers took my grandchildren in (during the fire). They put socks on their feet and let them have a place to sleep,” Canoy said.

During the fire, she said a motorist stopped and let one of Canoy’s dogs stay in his jeep. Another motorist stopped and called 911.

“I don’t know who they were, but I wanted to thank them. There are many kind people who were here for me,” she said.

The South Bend Volunteer Fire Department extinguished the fire. Canoy said to herself, “They are risking their lives to put out my house,” as she watched the firefighters battle the flames.

“They brought out my ‘babies’ (five cats and dogs that died from smoke inhalation, and a puppy that burned in the bathroom) and laid them on blankets,” Canoy said. Two other dogs survived the blaze.

The Lonoke County Humane Society brought Canoy dog houses and food for her dogs.

People have stopped by offering clothing, dog food and diapers.

Canoy said Gerald Grummer, owner of the Jacksonville Western Sizzlin’, told her that if she was ever hungry, she could come and eat. Employees Julie Adair, Terry Polton and Israel Davis offered clothing and gave a basket of shampoo.

Canoy once worked part-time at the restaurant.

Jim and Suzy Schmidt of the American Red Cross drove her to North Metro Medical Center and stayed with her while she was examined.

The Red Cross gave temporary housing for a few days at the Best Western Inn to Canoy and her two grandchildren she is raising.

They come back to the house every day. The kids play with their toys and swing set in the yard. Canoy said it is peaceful.