Friday, April 24, 2015

Castlegar couple loses home in blaze

What is left of the Roller home
Photos supplied by Doug Waterson
Toni Lucas

What happens when everything you have worked together for years has gone up in flames? A senior couple, Marg and Dan Roller in Castlegar,  are facing this question in their twilight years and it is a terrifying situation for them. "I think they are overwhelmed by the reality setting in," explained Marg's son Doug Waterson, who is one of the couples closest living relations and is situated in Pincher Creek, a 5-6 hour drive away.

Doug Waterson currently is on disability and helps out at Pincher Creek McMan Agency in the food bank.  He has also been collecting donations for his parents.

The fire occurred Sunday, April 19. Waterson said "I feel useless. I don't know what I can do to help them. Their house burned to the ground. Nothing was salvaged. Mom (Marg) was in her art studio room on the third floor when around 8:30 pm she heard a boom came out of her studio and saw small fireballs falling from the ceiling to the floor. She yelled to Dan (her husband) and he went out to try to put out the fire on the roof, and she tried to contain the spread of the what was inside their home." The couple had built the house themselves, and had lived in it for more than 20 years making improvements on it as it was their dream house, and a constant work in progress. The couple escaped the house with their pet dog Riggs, and little else. "Dan didn't even have shoes, they had what they had on, and he had on slippers."

Before the fire
"When they called 911, they could not help them, because of their location,"

 Doug explained that 911 reached out to other citizens one of whom had a water truck and volunteers came to help extinguish the blaze. Marg is 72 and an active artist who paints, makes dolls and jewelry. She lost all of her supplies. Dan is 84 years old, a licensed mechanic lost all of his tools. "It was a big, beautiful house that sat on a 100 foot cliff overlooking Arrow Lakes. They built it from the ground up, the two of them. They lost everything. The Red Cross is helping out right now, but they have to find a place, and start all over. Their first concern is housing, and then rebuilding their life again." They received $150 certificate to take care of some immediate necessities, and a hotel room until the end of the month.

Marg Roller
Waterson explained that the couple were planning on selling the property, as it was a large home and it was getting too much for them to maintain on their own at their age. They had sold some land recently and put this money back into the house to increase it's value and ready it for the sale. Due to this capital gain their finances have been affected. "They get $1,000 dollars a month between the two of them, because they lost all their supplements." The couple was told that insurance for their dream home was over $10,000 for one year due to it's location. "They had absolutely no insurance," said Waterson.

'Dan' painted by Marg Roller
"Several locals (in both areas) have already donated gift cards, and several people have said they will pray for them, which is greatly appreciated," Waterson said he talks to them daily and they are overwhelmed and appreciative of the support they've been getting. The couple were also grateful that no one was hurt by the fire. 

To arrange for donation contact Doug Waterson at 403-432-0107.

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