Empty oil tank saves Glace Bay woman from fire

A Glace Bay senior citizen lost everything she owned in a house fire Monday night, but she’s safe because she couldn’t afford to fill her oil tank.

Ellen Napoleon, 68, had moved out of her home and in with her daughter, Margaret, over the weekend when it was discovered she had no heat.

“I’m really sad, I’m really upset,” Margaret Napoleon said Tuesday as she walked through the ashes of her mother’s home. “I try to reassure Ma, ‘As long as you’re not gone, that’s the main thing.’ ”

Margaret Napoleon said her mother’s worst fear is going into a nursing home. So when she couldn’t afford oil, Ellen Napoleon didn’t tell her family.

“Apparently, what I found out, she was here for awhile with no heat. I’d come over and she’d be like, ‘I’m fine. I’m getting oil, I’m getting oil.’ But she couldn’t afford it,” Margaret Napoleon said.

Fire Chief Arnold MacKinnon said it’s too early to say what caused the fire, but he has some suspicions.

“At this time, it appears to be something of an electrical nature,” he said.

Margaret Napoleon said her mother had no insurance and she has nothing left except the clothes she was wearing.

Ellen Napoleon has severe asthma and her oxygen machine was also destroyed. Her plans are uncertain, but for now she’ll continue to stay with her daughter, who is a student and single mother of three.


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