A Shawnigan Lake man is attempting to piece his life back together after losing everything in a recent fire.
Ric Munro and his partner Carole Stanley’s belongings were destroyed when a fire ripped through their cabin last Tuesday morning.
Munro, who has been delivering papers for Black Press for the past 27 years, was at home having coffee and listening to the radio when he smelled smoke. The smoke alarm soon triggered in his bedroom.
He ran into his bedroom to see flames shooting out of the ceiling by the top of his closet. Munro attempted to put out the fire with an extinguisher and garden hose, but soon realized it was too late.
In a panic, Munro managed to save his three guitars. Everything else such as musical equipment, cash and sentimental items were lost in the fire. He also tried to find his cats, but their fear sent them into hiding.
“It was my home,” he said. “I was like a zombie and then the next day it hit me and I cried like I’ve never cried.”
Stanley also lost a number of personal items, such as laptops and cameras with pictures from recent trips — memories she said she’ll never be able to get back.
Rob Patterson, fire chief for the Malahat Fire Department, said within a few seconds of crews arriving, the cabin became engulfed in flames. Crews managed to contain the fire and let it extinquish itself because the home is outside of the fire deparatment’s area of coverage.
“It was a tragedy for him,” said Patterson, speculating the old, unlined concrete chimney was the cause of the fire.
Munro had been living in the cabin above the west side of Shawnigan Lake for the past 19 years. He moved there to get away from the noise of the city and so he could have a peaceful place to write and play music.
“My guitars are like my kids in a way. I’m lost without them. They saved me many times, so I wanted to save them,” he said.
“Music has helped me through the ups and downs in my life. It’s always been good therapy.”
Now, Munro and Stanley must rebuild their lives.
He said a number of people in the community have reached out to donate clothing, bedding and food. Black Press is also providing accomodation to the duo.
“I just wanted to thank everybody that stepped up and helped us out,” Munro said.
But there is a positive end to the story. Munro returned to the cabin several days later. While sifting through the ashes, he found a porcelain piggy bank he’s had since he was a child. His cats made it out as well.
For more information on how to help, visit the fundraising campaign at blackpress4good.com.