An overheated laptop battery is said to have caused a fire that destroyed a Winnipeg farming family’s “dream home.”
Randy and Joyska Tkachyk were leaving church last week when they noticed a series of missed calls from Randy’s mother. When they called back, she shared the devastating news: “Your house is on fire.”
The Tkachyks drove for an agonizing hour to get back to their farm in Piney, Man., to find rubble and embers in the place where their self-built home was still under construction.
“It was gone,” said Joyska in an interview with CTV Winnipeg. “It was a very tall structure and it was just gone. There was nothing there but rubble and some small flames.”
The family’s dog died in the blaze, which fire inspectors said likely started when a laptop with an overheated lithium-ion battery burst into flames. Health Canada says that common lithium-ion batteries are “more susceptible to being damaged than other types of batteries” and users should take precautions when charging them.
The Tkachyks don’t yet have an estimate for damages, but the fire snuffed out a year’s work by Randy, who began building an 1,800-square-foot addition to the original 1,100-square-foot bungalow in 2017.
“This was going to be the rest of our dream home,” he said. “It’s difficult. When you build something from scratch, you’re proud of it. But whatever man builds, it doesn’t last forever here.”
The Tkachyks have found comfort in their community and their faith during the ordeal. “It was devastating,” said Joyska. “Yet at the same time we looked at it and literally the thought in my head was ‘The Lord gives, the lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.’”
Neighbours immediately began to offer clothes, food and shelter after the news spread. “We have never experienced this kind of outpouring in our lives,” she said.
Randy was able to easily get back to work on the farm where they raise cattle thanks to neighbours who offered him warm clothing. While they lament the loss of irreplaceable sentimental items and the hard work on the home’s construction, they consider most of that simply material things.
“I cannot leave this world with anything,” said Randy. “God is good. The neighbours and everyone -- they’re here and they’re lifting us up when we’re down.”