A fire in a Greenwood home left a family of four homeless Dec. 13. - Nancy Kelly
Friday the 13th lived up to its reputation for bad luck for a Greenwood-area couple who lost their home and all their belongings in an early morning fire.
Jamie Ogilvie and Jaime Hannam awoke shortly before 2 a.m. to see smoke in their home, located on Meadowvale Road, south of Greenwood. Members of the Kingston fire department were on the scene shortly afterward and got to work dealing with the electrical fire, which started in between the ceiling and the roof.
The couple sat in their car, watching firefighters battle the blaze, until the cold was too much to bear.
“So we went to my parents house,” explained Ogilvie. When they returned later that day, they were stunned to see that the home and its contents had been destroyed.
Kingston fire chief Watson Armstrong, who met the couple at the property, could see they were shocked by what was left.
“I think they thought they were going to be dealing with some smoke damage and be able to retrieve things. That wasn’t going to happen,” said Armstrong.
Firefighter and former Greenwood village commission Bob Baker responded to the call at Ogilvie’s home. He is well acquainted with Ogilvie, who is employed by the village in the public works department, and feared for the couple when he learned where the fire was located.
“When I heard the address, I was sure that was his place, and sure enough, I was right.”
Baker said once the fire got going, it burned so intensely it melted the television.
“Things went to hell in hurry,” he said.
“It’s such a damn shame, (Jamie) is one heck of a nice guy.”
Ogilvie and Hannam declined help from the Red Cross when it was offered by the fire chief.
“We had family in the area and didn’t think it was going to be this bad,” said Ogilvie.
Right away, Charlene Greenough-Belisle, Hannam’s boss at the Ultramar gas station in Greenwood, organized a drop off for clothes and items for the family. The couple has two children, five-year-old and 17-year-old daughters, who are now staying with other family members because there isn’t enough space with Ogilvie’s parents.
“We are all split up now,” Ogilvie explained.
Ogilvie’s sister, Michelle Ogilvie, opened up a trust account for the family at the CIBC branch in Greenwood and is encouraging people to give what they can. She recognizes that people are stretched thin at this time of year and was concerned that some comments on social media that the couple’s need was being exaggerated would deter people from helping.
“This is a young, hardworking family needing a miracle. They lost everything,” she said.
While their home was insured, Ogilvie fears he won’t be compensated for all the work he put into it.
“It was a 1973 trailer home, and I put my heart and soul into fixing it up, but the insurance company still sees it as an old trailer.”
The couple’s most immediate need is to find a place to rent to reunite their family. When they find a new home, they will need just about everything to put in it.
Greenwood village commissioner Dale Harty, who was involved in hiring Ogilvie at the village, has been supporting Ogilvie as he sorts out insurance issues and been in touch with the Kingston Lions club for their help with furnishings.
“Jamie is a stand up guy,” said Harty, adding Ogilvie has consistently displayed a “willingness to learn and work hard to support his family.”