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The Weather Network

August 06, 2021

Tragedy befalls Eugenia couple as fire destroys their home

Ted and Ruth Turner house after fire.

BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF — In the village of Eugenia, charred framing studs and burnt debris are all that remains of a small house on Purdy Street. The humble abode of Ted and Ruth Turner went up in smoke on Wednesday, August 4, taking with it, many photos, documents and precious memories as well.

An area resident for more than 30 years, Ted operated a successful sandblasting and painting company with customers throughout southern Ontario. Throughout his career, the retired 80+ senior was also well known to donate his own services for community projects.

Turner and his wife were nearby in the Eugenia Conservation Area, walking their dog when a neighbour alerted them to smoke billowing from their home. The Grey Highlands Fire Department was called and within minutes showed up to douse the flames but the fire spread so quickly, they were unable to save the home from total ruin.

Devastated by the loss of their home, Ruth was overcome with emotion as Fire and Safety staff ushered her to a safe position up the street while Ted sat dejected a few feet away. But within hours, members of the local community rallied to support the couple. Jayne and Brian LeGree offered to help them and let them stay in a donated trailer on their Hawthorn Cottages property until they can find more permanent accommodation. Valerie Quackenbush has set up a trust account for the Turners and donations of clothing and essentials have been turning up at Hawthorn's Cottages since Wednesday.

"Thank you to our local small businesses like Hawthorn’s Cottages and Bowler’s BJJ for their tremendous support in getting this family settled," said Quackenbush who explained that financial donations can be made to the TD Canada Trust account #2984-6277400. "Any donations are appreciated and will be used to help them rebuild their lives and purchase some much needed items like clothes and food and pet supplies."

"People are so nice," said Ruth Turner about the kindness of the Eugenia community. Although an insurance adjuster has already visited the fire-destroyed property, it is estimated that the couple could be without a home for many months while an insurance claim is discharged. When asked what she needed right now, Ruth could only think that a bucket would help with the collection of any retrievable keepsakes when she revisits the site later this week.

On Friday afternoon, August 6, as the couple tried to relax outside their new temporary home at Hawthorn's Cottages, a Grey Highlands Bylaw Enforcement Officer showed up to investigate a neighbour's complaint about the donated trailer taking up space on the LeGree's property. Notes were taken but it was unclear if the unfortunate couple would be forced to leave their new-found sanctuary or if Jayne and Brian LeGree would be fined and found in violation of a property bylaw restricting them from allowing the Turners to stay. At the time of publication, the Director of Building and Planning Services Michael Benner who is in charge of municipal bylaw enforcement for Grey Highlands could not be reached for comment. However, Grey Highlands CAO Karen Govan reported on social media that the municipality is "stepping back for compassionate reasons" and will not be pursuing enforcement of the bylaw.

 


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