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Sifting through the rubble

<p>Residents surveyed the ash and rubble yesterday after a multi-million-dollar fire started by an unattended trouble light levelled three homesin the northwest neighbourhood of Royal Oak Wednesday afternoon.</p>

Residents survey homes destroyed by Wednesday’s giant blaze



chris bolin/metro calgary


Ibrahim Chatila, owner of what was 201 Royal Elm Road, and his friend look over a pile of rubble yesterday after a fire destroyed three homes in the northwest neighbourhood Wednesday afternoon. Chatila recently moved into the house after arriving here from Toronto six months ago.





Residents surveyed the ash and rubble yesterday after a multi-million-dollar fire started by an unattended trouble light levelled three homes in the northwest neighbourhood of Royal Oak Wednesday afternoon.





“It’s horrible. It’s the most horrible thing I have ever had to deal with,” said Steve Pointmeier, owner of 193 Royal Elm Rd — one of the destroyed homes — who was on his way back from Spokane, Wash., with his 12-year-old daughter Jessi when he heard the news.





“I had six hours to try and digest it, and me and my daughter are driving back and one minute we’re laughing about it … the next minute we’re crying,” he explains.





“We go through this entire gauntlet of emotion the entire time we’re driving home.”





Pointmeier’s wife, Christie, along with the family’s 11-year-old Golden Retriever, Ellie, were able to escape from the home where she was working before the blaze spread from their neighbour’s home at 197 Royal Elm Rd.





The family lost numerous keepsakes and souvenirs, including rocks from Alcatraz and the Ortega Highway, a crystal chandelier, handcrafted items from Christie’s grandfather and various guitars Steve had collected over the years.





Ibrahim Chatila had just moved into his new home at 201 Royal Elm Rd. on June 21 after moving to Calgary from Toronto six months ago. The ceramic tile worker was at a loss for words.





“There’s nothing to say. I mean, look around,” said Chatila, hands folded into his pockets, looking over the charred reminder of his lost possessions.





Chatila was at work when he was notified of the fire and rushed back only to find his home reduced to wreckage.





“It’s devastating — your whole life is in here. It’s not easy,” he said.





Chatila will be staying with his aunt while he sorts through the insurance process, but both he and Pointmeier expect to rebuild on the lots where their homes previously stood.


 
 
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