Brantford woman dealing with aftermath of ‘nightmare’ fire

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“This is where my life flashed before my eyes,” Patricia Attwell says, gesturing at a charred and boarded-up building.

The Brantford woman was home early Sunday morning when the Buffalo Street duplex where she lived caught fire.

“I was coming down the stairs, and it’s getting thicker, it’s black, and then I see the flames, and I stood there.”

Attwell was able to get out safely, along with everyone else in the building, but the flames caused an estimated $300,000 in damages.

Brantford Deputy Fire Chief Dwayne Armstrong said investigators determined the cause of the fire involved an e-bike charging in the living room.

The inside of the home was completely destroyed, along with all of Attwell’s possessions.

“Everything in my home is gone. I have no clothes. I got out with a T-shirt and a pair of boxer shorts for pyjamas,” she said.

Patricia Attwell looks at what used to be the door to her home. (Spencer Turcotte/CTV Kitchener)

Attwell said she doesn’t know what she would’ve done if it weren’t for her neighbors who helped her out while the house was still burning.

A fundraising campaign has been set up to help her get back on her feet.

AN EMOTIONAL REUNION

While Attwell tries to put her life back together, two very important pieces were missing – until recently.

“I would rather lose my home than my cats,” Attwell said through tears Tuesday morning. “They’re my life.”

She’d been stopping by the property often to look for her pets, Diana and Jax, with help from her daughter-in-law, who she’s staying with for now.

“[It’s] just nothing but a nightmare now,” Attwell said. “[This] used to be home, now it’s my nothing.”

But on Tuesday afternoon, that nightmare took a turn for the better.

After CTV News spoke to Attwell and her daughter-and-law, our reporter found them on the side of the road just a block away.

Patricia Atwell’s cat Diana emerges from the bushes after being missing for two days. (Spencer Turcotte/CTV Kitchener)

When he pulled over to ask if they were OK, the answer emerged from the bushes.

One of her missing cats had come home. The other cat watched the reunion unfold while sprawled along the driveway.

It’s a much needed glimmer of hope, with a piece of home now back in her arms.

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