Family of Phoebe Adla, who died in Peterborough fire, looking for answers

Rene Labonte is trying to put the pieces back together.

He lost his mother, Phoebe Adla, in a fire two days after Christmas.

The 33-year-old Labonte travelled to Peterborough from Sault Ste. Marie and is trying to sort out what happened, and what comes next.

“I’m just trying to bring my mom back to Iqaluit, where she was from,” he said. “She was born there, so we’re hoping to bring her remains back north after this.”

But that could still take two weeks. The fire that took Adla’s life is still under investigation. Labonte believes the fire began when a lit cigarette set his mother’s duvet on fire while she was sleeping beside her partner.

“Dominic (her partner) tried to find a fire extinguisher, which wasn’t found. And by the time they realized there was no fire extinguisher the whole room was ablaze.”

Adla had mobility issues and Labonte thinks that was a factor in what happened.

“She didn’t have the strength to get herself out, and she definitely had problems trying to get herself in and out of the place,” he said.

Labonte says his mother likely died from smoke inhalation. He says her beloved dog Brandy died in the fire alongside her.

“She never left her side, from what I gathered, and that goes to show the loyalty of animals, so that’s something right there.”

The family is still waiting to get Adla’s remains back. Labonte said they want to hold a service for her in Peterborough. A donation page has been created on Ashburnham Funeral Home’s website to help cover the cost of the funeral.

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