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'I've lost everything': Homeowners lose everything, including pets, after rural N.B. home destroyed by fire

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Two photo albums full of memories of her family. That's about all Lee Walker could salvage from the ruins of her home on Thursday. 

Lee and Mike Walker's house in Shepody, N.B., was destroyed in a fire Wednesday afternoon.

"Our pictures when we got married," Lee said to Mike as she flips through one of the albums.

Not only is their home and all their belongings gone, so too are their pets.

Their dog Harry and cat Hope were both lost in the fire.

"If I only could find Harry," said Lee as she continued to sift through the wreckage.

The house, which the Walkers guess is over 200 years old, had to be demolished by an excavator because of hot spots that couldn't be put out.

Riverside-Albert Volunteer Fire Department Deputy Chief Daniel O'Hare said the building was fully engulfed when they arrived shortly after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

"It was so dry," said O'Hare. "It really wasn't anything we could put out quick. It took a lot of water."

Riverside-Albert Volunteer Fire Department Deputy Chief Daniel O'Hare said the building was fully engulfed when they arrived shortly after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. (Courtesy: Lee Walker)

No one was injured in the fire.

Riverside-Albert received mutual aid from the Hillsborough and Alma fire departments.

Firefighters were on scene for close to six hours.

O'Hare said the cause of the fire is not yet known.

The couple has lost everything and now must start over, but it won't be easy because they don't have any insurance.

They were 40 minutes away in Riverview, N.B., at the time of the fire paying their property taxes.

"By the time we got back, there was basically nothing left," said Mike.

Mike said the pets are definitely their biggest loss.

"They're like kids as you get older," said Mike. "The funny thing is the little dog, he wanted to go with us yesterday."

Lee said both of her pets had a lot of personality.

"I lost everything. My babies I can't replace," said Lee. "Everything else, they're just material things."

The couple have spoken with their neighbours and friends and they appreciate their support.

"Albert County is a place you want to be. Everybody's friendly," said Lee. "We all help each other. We all pull together."

Michelle Walker, Mike and Lee's daughter, said they moved from Moncton, N.B., to Shepody 25 years ago when she was 15.

She found out from her daughter that her old home was on fire.

"I called my mom and she didn't answer. I called my dad. He said, 'I'm here, I'm just watching our house burn down,'" said Michelle.

Michelle's parents are staying with her sister for the time being. She said her mother works in home care with seniors in the Albert County area.

"She drives around and spends her days with the seniors in the community," said Michelle. "She said last night that she was going to go to work. She lost all of her scrubs in the fire. They didn't have anything. Just what was on their backs."

The Walkers are trying to figure out what they are going to do next.

They have a cottage in the Salisbury, N.B., area, but it isn't suitable for living in during the winter.

As for getting new pets, Lee isn't so sure about that right now.

"They're irreplaceable. They can't be replaced," said Lee. "You can't replace a life."

Michelle has started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for her parents. As of 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the fundraiser had raised just over $2,000.

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