From The Gazette

St. Lazare

Community pitches in to rebuild Bassenden home

  • Allen Bassenden's family has been living in a trailer since a fire gutted his home in 2011.
    Allen Bassenden's family has been living in a trailer since a fire gutted his home in 2011.
    Photo credit: Navneet Pall/The Gazette

Their home was demolished nearly two weeks ago, and if all goes well, the Bassenden family could be in new digs by this spring.

A local contractor heard about the story of the Bassenden family, who have been living in a trailer on their property for 20 months, and has offered to help rebuild the home on that lot for free.

The family home burned down in a fire in March, 2011. Since that time, owner Allen Bassenden has been in a legal battle with his insurance company, which claims he was operating a car mechanic business out of the home’s garage. Bassenden has said he couldn’t afford to demolish the home, so a local company Tri-Tool did it for free.

But while Bassenden is scheduled to go to court in 2014 with his insurance company, Francis Charron, a resident of Les Coteaux, doesn’t think they should wait that long.

“It doesn’t matter what happened in the past, I have to do this; they shouldn’t have to live like that,” Charron said, adding he only decided to act now because he just learned of the family’s plight.

Charron, the owner of Renovation Charron, said he found a friend who is an architect to sketch out the building for free. He plans to get other colleagues who are plumbers and electricians to also offer their services for free.

“I’m going to give $5,000 of building materials, and I’m hoping my suppliers are going to do the same,” he said.

He plans to build a bungalow-style home, and hopes to apply for a building permit by the beginning of next month.

“I’m hoping we can do this before the two-year anniversary of the fire,” he said.

Bassenden’s wife Joni Malley said Charron offered to spearhead the project, she hasn’t stopped crying tears of joy.

“All I do is cry and cry; I still can’t believe this,” she said. “This man is a godsend. There’s no way we can ever repay him.”

jmagder@montrealgazette.com
Twitter: @OffIslandNews

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