From the Orillia Packet & Times

Fire razes cottage
Monday, June 07, 2004 - 08:00

Local News - It took about eight minutes for fire to destroy 40 years of memories for the Mendelow family.

Martin Mendelow is lucky to be alive after a heating blanket accidentally shorted out and caught fire at his cottage on Dover Drive along the shores of the Green River in Ramara Township early Saturday morning.

Mendelow fell asleep in front of the television after leaving the heating blanket to warm his bed.

This was not an unusual bed-time event for Mendelow. He is well known by family for falling asleep in front of the television after turning on the heating blanket and had no reason to believe Saturday would be different, said fire officer Norm Williamson.

Alone at his cottage, he was awoken by the smoke detector. Mendelow noticed his mattress on fire, closed the bedroom door and immediately called 9-1-1.

Station three Ramara firefighters received the call and responded, said Williamson.

“I was awestruck just to see how fast it could go up (in flames),” he said.

Mendelow was standing in front of his house dressed in what he could find, a housecoat and shoes by the time firefighters arrived. Unfortunately, those clothes were all that was saved from the fire. Mendelow’s son is an artist and the priceless paintings he had created were lost to the flames, said Williamson.

“It was a cottage and it could have been very much a home,” he said.

The house was built using douglas fir timbers and a tar and stone roof. Within eight minutes of the call, the house had become completely engulfed in flames. The fire was so consuming, stations one and two had to be called in for backup.

Finally, by 5:30 a.m. the fire was under control. The fire is not considered suspicious. Mendelow was not injured in the fire and stayed with a neighbour that morning.