By Mallory Day 
BELLEVILLE – A family of eight lost their home to a fire on Bronk Road in Thurlow Ward on Tuesday afternoon.
According to the Belleville Fire Department , when firefighters arrived on the scene at about 2:30 p.m. they had a hard time getting to the fire due to the long, hilly driveway that was packed with ice. The roof of the home’s garage had already collapsed and the fire was quickly spreading through the attic. Heavy smoke was pouring out of the eaves.
A young man who was home at the time safely escaped after noticing smoke and fire, said Dave MacMullen, fire-prevention officer at the Belleville Fire Department.
There were no casualties and no injuries from the fire, he said. However, three cats are missing, he added.
The homeowners were on their way back from Quebec when the fire happened, McMullen said. The young man’s siblings were with relatives.
The house is insured, he said.
All members of the family are now staying at a nearby relative’s house and the Red Cross and the insurance company were assessing their immediate needs on Wednesday morning, MacMullen said.
The house and the approximately eight hectares of land it sits on were estimated to be worth $450,000, he said. The exact value of the home won’t be known until insurance agents can provide the department with that information, he added.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. An excavator was brought in to make the scene safe for the firefighters and to allow them access to extinguish hot spots inside the building, MacMullen said.
The Mohawk and Tyendinaga  fire departments provided water tanks to help fight the fire, he said.