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Keddy’s Corner man dubs neighbour a lifesaver after apartment fire

Pete and Marsha Freckelton were fast asleep in their Keddy’s Corner apartment Sept. 17 when a neighbour alerted them to a fire burning in the unit below theirs.
Pete and Marsha Freckelton were fast asleep in their Keddy’s Corner apartment Sept. 17 when a neighbour alerted them to a fire burning in the unit below theirs. - Contributed
KENTVILLE, N.S. —

Pete Freckelton is thanking his lucky stars.

The Keddy’s Corner resident is certain the swift actions of a neighbour saved his life after a fire broke out in the apartment below his late in the evening Sept. 17.

“We were both dead asleep and then suddenly I hear this bang, bang, bang - and my dog starts barking,” he said Sept. 22.

His wife fell asleep on the couch while watching TV, and Freckelton was snoozing in the bedroom.

As he came to, he realized the next-door neighbour, Drew Potter, was pounding on their door, urging them to leave the apartment.

He remembers smelling smoke before hearing Potter shout “get out.”

“If she hadn’t woke me up then, chances are, I would have died in my sleep,” he said.

His thoughts immediately went to his wife and their pets – one dog and six snakes.

“We made some unwise choices to go back in several times to get our pets because we didn’t want them to die,” Freckelton recalled.

“At the time I woke up it was pretty smoky but, probably at about five minutes in, it was zero visibility in the building.”

Flames shot out through windows on the bottom level as the fire engulfed more than half of the apartment unit below them.

In only a matter of minutes, thick smoke made navigating through their unit nearly impossible.

“We were going by touch at that point, holding our breath and just grabbing what we could and running out,” he said.

The neighbour in the basement apartment was not home when the blaze broke out, and Freckelton said the other tenants were not able to get her cats out by the time the fire was discovered.

“Flames started shooting out of one of the front windows.”

Firefighters from Kentville and neighbouring departments were dispatched to the Lakewood Road scene shortly after 11:30 p.m.

Five people, including the Freckeltons, were displaced as a result of the fire. No one was hurt.

Brian Desloges, Kentville’s fire chief, said the cause was electrical in nature.

The Red Cross provided temporary assistance, but there is more work to be done before tenants can go home.

The basement unit was badly damaged by fire, and the upstairs apartments suffered smoke damage.

Freckelton is staying in a relative’s cottage for the time being. A “Pete and Marsha Fire Recovery” GoFundMe campaign aims to bring in $2,200 to help the couple recover.

“Unfortunately, this could hardly have come at a worse possible time. Marsha and I are currently unemployed, and have little means to recover or replace all the smoke-damaged property in the home,” a GoFundMe campaign summary reads.

“Our vehicle has also decided to start having serious problems, making it that much more difficult. Moreover, this comes on the heels of several unexpected hardships, including a hurricane.”

Despite the recent hardships faced, Freckelton stressed that they feel blessed for the showing of support from friends, family and their fast-acting neighbour.

“She’s ever modest and saying… anyone would have done it,” he said.

“I’m always going to be in debt to her. She’s an amazing person. She’s been a great neighbour the whole time we’ve been here… this just took it up the next step to best neighbour ever.”

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