With baby on the way, woman loses home to fire

Seven and a half months pregnant, Amanda Roberts, 27, lost everything in Tuesday's fire in midtown...

Seven and a half months pregnant, Amanda Roberts, 27, lost everything in Tuesday's fire in midtown Kingston. “My baby is coming in February and I don't have anything," she says. "What now?" Elliot Ferguson The Whig-Standard

Elliot Ferguson, Kingston Whig-Standard

, Last Updated: 11:22 PM ET

Six weeks from her due date, Amanda Roberts thought she was ready.

The gifts from a recent baby shower were neatly packed in a wardrobe in her Princess Street duplex apartment directly across the street from the apartment construction project.

She was in the process of moving some of her stuff upstairs to her mother Cindy Roberts’ apartment upstairs.

It was part of her nesting process, getting ready for the arrival of her son, her first child.

Then the fire came.

They smelled it first, then heard it, a crackling noise against the front windows.

“I opened the curtain and I thought it was World War III,” Amanda Roberts, 27, said Thursday afternoon.

“There were flames rolling up the window.”

Next thing they knew, a firefighter was kicking in the door and hustling them and their two dogs out through the smoke and flames.

They watched as the fire grew bigger and more ferocious, “like a monster of fire just eating the entire street.”

Three days after the disaster, in the safety and warmth of a Kingston hotel room provided by the Red Cross, the reality of their situation is starting to sink in.

“I have lost everything that I completely own. I just finished getting everything ready,” Amanda Roberts said.

“What now?”

Unlike the dozens of residents evacuated from the area but since allowed to return, Amanda Roberts knows there is nothing for them to return to.

“My baby is coming in February and I don’t have anything now. I had it all — didn’t need anything.”

Roberts said she is thankful she and her mother got out unharmed and that her unborn son is OK, but she said she feels frustrated that there has been little said about the nine people who lived in their duplex.

“It seems nobody is mentioning that house,” Cindy Roberts said.

“It hasn’t been mentioned once.”

Amanda Roberts said she is worried the other duplex residents, without a building manager to help, will not be able to find the help they need.

In a briefing Thursday afternoon, city officials said evacuees needing assistance are to contact Community and Family Services at 613-546-2695 or visit the office at 362 Montreal St. between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or check the city’s website for information about emergency shelters.

From photographs they’ve seen, the building in which they lived, between the Howard Johnson Inn and Stinson Fuels gas station, partially collapsed during the fire.

Amanda Roberts said their building suffered the worst damage of any of the properties adjacent to the fire.

“There is no going back there. There’s no going back,” she said.

All of their identification, bank cards, her grandfather’s bible, childhood photos of Amanda Roberts and her brother, are all gone.

Roberts’ fiance died last November shortly after being released from prison. Lost in the fire were two letters he wrote to her before being released that were delivered after his death.

“I never read them because I just couldn’t bring myself to read them. Now I will have to live with that,” she said.

“There’s nothing to go back to. There’s nothing to salvage, nothing at all.”

elliot.ferguson@sunmedia.ca

Twitter.com/Elliotatthewhig

 


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