Beaver Bank couple left speechless with outpouring of
community support after fire destroys home
BEAVER BANK: Wayne MacEachern and Nicki Beck-Chisholm have always been the ones volunteering in their community, helping those in need. Now the community is reciprocating that after a devastating fire destroyed the couple’s home.
When fire struck their Beaver Bank home on March 16, destroying it, the community quickly put the wheels in motion to help the family in their time of need. The Beaver Bank-Kinsac Lions Club has put together several fundraisers, including a bottle drive and food drive.
“It’s quite humbling,” said MacEachern, who has been the one helping out people in need for the past 15 or 16 years. “When the Lions came to us and said they had set something up to start raising money, we were overwhelmed but thankful. It hasn’t seemed to stop yet.”
He said a recent conversation with King Lion Bob Trowsdale he learned they had reached out to other Lions Club to assist in their efforts.
“I truly am just humbled by the community, when I say that I mean Sackville, the Valley, as far as N.B. Northern Quebec and Ontario,” said MacEachern, who is speechless.
Beck-Chisholm said the Sobeys Larry Uteck, where MacEachern used to work before returning to school, have had donation jars at the end of their cash registers.
“Their staff and customers have come specifically to make a donation to Wayne,” he said.
The Lions Club, in a post on the Beaver Bank Community Watch Facebook page, said people can etransfer monetary donation to firstname.lastname@example.org, or drop off at the Club at 40 Sandy Lake Road on any Thursday or Friday night after 6pm.
Plans are in the works for a “pizza and pop” event on April 10 from 3-8 p.m. at the Lions Club. All COVID19 safe protocols will be in place. For a nominal price, people can come on out and have a bite. All proceeds will go to the family.
Beck-Chisholm said the what ifs continues to go through her brain. What if MacEachern still worked at Sobeys and wasn’t back in school and hadn’t woken Riley before he had left that morning. She feels lucky the outcome wasn’t anything more than a lost home.
“I believe the only reason Riley is safe is because Wayne woke him up before he left the house, he wouldn’t let him sleep,” she said. “Riley’s bedroom is on the back of the house right where the fire was, the whole back and roof is gone.”
She said Riley had called her from inside the house as the fire began.
“He said the propane tank was on fire. He kept saying something was on fire,” Beck-Chisholm, who is working in Truro, said. “I couldn’t get him calmed down, so I hung up and called 911. I had my assistant manager call Wayne as I was on the phone with 911, so he could call to ensure Riley was out of the house.”
MacEachern wanted to praise the firefighters that responded from Beaver Bank, Wellington, Waverley, Sackville, Fall River, Hammonds Plains, and Uniacke District.
“They made an amazing stop on the fire,” he said. “When I came over the hill there was flames through the roof, but they stopped it before it got to Riley’s room. To me that’s, just, words can’t explain how amazing that stop was and what it means to us.”
Beck-Chisholm said it never hit her how bad it was until MacEachern phoned her.
“He told me he was coming up over the hill and all he could see was black smoke and flames,” she said. “It hit me because me and my kids built that house 23 years ago, we’ve grown up there in Beaver Bank. It was our home.”
She said old teachers, Lockview High, and former neighbours that moved away have all reached out.
“We love that community. We will rebuild in that community,” she said. “We’re devastated. It’s overwhelming.
Beck-Chisholm said their whole lives were pretty much destroyed in the fire, except for a few scrap books of photos they managed to get when they were allowed back in.
“We’re getting to the part where we realize all the stuff we lost, not the monetary stuff, but the memories, the photos of my kids, it’s all of that stuff,” said Beck-Chisholm.
“The main thing, we have each other and we’re safe.”