Weekend fires destroy two Surrey homes
Following a fatal house fire in Fleetwood last Thursday – in which an elderly woman died and seven others were injured – Surrey fire crews had their hands full Saturday, after two house fires broke out in the space of six hours.
Fortunately, no injuries to people were reported in either blaze, both of which remain under investigation. However, a dog and cat belonging to residents of a South Surrey rancher remain unaccounted for.
“(We) have not been able to locate the single dog and single cat that were in the residence,” deputy Chief Dan Barnscher said Monday.
“The owners know that they left them in the house, so we don’t know if they escaped and haven’t returned or what.”
Barnscher said crews were alerted to that fire – in the 16300-block of 48 Avenue – at about 11:30 a.m. Jan. 4. The longtime elderly residents were not home when it broke out, and the rancher was fully engulfed when fire crews arrived, he said.
“Anywhere in South Surrey you would have noticed a large column of smoke going up.”
Barnscher said the fact the property is located in a “no-water district” – meaning water to fight the blaze had to be trucked in – did not impact the outcome of the fire. Five tankers relayed a steady flow to the site, using a system that is put into play anytime crews are called to a fire in a no-water area, he said.
The second fire, which erupted just after 5 p.m. in the 12600-block of 69 Avenue, destroyed a two-storey house and left two families homeless.
“We had a roof collapse on that one,” Barnscher said. “But everyone was able to get out of the house.”
Barnscher said fire investigators were at both sites Monday in an effort to confirm what caused them. A focus in both investigations is to determine if smoke alarms were in place and if they were, whether they were working.
He noted there were no functioning smoke alarms in the home at 8860 146A St. where a senior died last Thursday. A child was among those injured in the early-morning blaze.
“They’re extremely hard lessons to learn,” he said, noting that not only should smoke detectors be installed in every home, they should be tested on a monthly basis.
Cause of the Fleetwood fire has also not yet been pinpointed, however, Barnscher said it started in the upstairs area and “may have been from an open flame,” such as candles.