Family thankful for community support following house fire

Derek Montague
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Cornelia Tuglavina, Tommy Tuglavina, and Harry Semigak lost their home to a fire on Jan. 2. 

Cornelia Tuglavina, her boyfriend Harry Semigak, and her nephew Tommy Tuglavina lost their home to a house fire on Jan. 2. The outer portion of the house is still standing, but the interior is completely ruined. The occupants also lost all of their possessions but, fortunately, no one was injured in the blaze.

"I don't know what to feel," says Cornelia, who is still shocked over the loss.

The house, which was being rented from the Torngat Regional Housing Association, caught fire around 11 pm, while Tommy and Cornelia were asleep. Harry wasn't in the house at the time.

Tommy was the first to realize there was a fire. He woke up coughing from all the smoke that was seeping into his room. Instinctively, he started crawling on the floor.

"I tried to go get my Auntie but I couldn't make it, so I went outside...the cops and the fire truck was already there when I went outside,' says Tommy. "I don't know how to feel, this is the first time something like this has happened to me."

When Cornelia realized there was a fire, she ran out of the house, and went next door to use the phone. But she was in a state of panic and doesn't remember much of the incident.

"I don't remember who I phoned," says Cornelia.

Constable Jocelyn Noseworthy was one of the first people to arrive at the scene, along with the volunteer fire department. She says the house is too damaged to determine the cause of the fire. But it seems as though is started in the area of the house near the woodstove.

"The house was basically engulfed by the time we got there," says Noseworthy.

The original fire was put out around midnight, an hour after it started. But a few hours later there was a flare up in the house. But the flare up hardly mattered, since the original fire had already done significant damage.

"It's just charred in there," says Noseworthy. "There's nothing you could have saved."

Family has jumped in to help Cornelia, Tommy and Harry. Cornelia's sister has taken the three of them into her home.

The community has also rallied around. Nain Care, an organization of nine volunteers from the community, has given them $600 in clothing and other necessities.

Nain Care has existed in Nain for more than 20 years. Their goal is to help people in the community, financially, in times of crisis.

"If it wasn't for our organization, it would be harder for families to get help in cases of emergency," says Nain Care member Joan Dicker. "We're here for everyone in the community."

Things are still uncertain for Cornelia, Tommy and Harry. But they have felt the warm support of the community. Tommy says he plans to apply for another house with the Torngat Regional Housing Association soon. Even though he lost all of his personal property in the fire, he's grateful that he and his aunt were able to escape unharmed.

"Everyone's alright, that's the main thing," says Tommy.

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