A late-night fire in South Surrey killed 11 chickens and destroyed an old barn Friday night, but neighbours say the potential for much greater damage was there.
Firefighters were alerted to the blaze in the 16200-block of 10 Avenue at 8:40 p.m. Sept. 2.
Neighbour Graeme Lempriere said he called 911 after investigating an orange glow coming through his window. From his back deck, he discovered the fire was barely 15 feet from his house, and threatening a large greenbelt.
Worried it could ignite the whole forest – and his home – Lempriere said he used a garden hose to keep the blaze at bay and watched as it destroyed a chicken coop and an old barn, the latter of which housed a car. Trees around the buildings also caught fire, he said.
“It was a huge rager,” Lempriere said. “It could’ve taken the whole cul-de-sac out.
“I immediately told my family to get out of the house because I thought it was going to jump over the fence. (Debris) was catching so fast, I thought it was going to spread for sure.”
Fire Chief Ron Cross said the chicken coop was “fully involved” upon the fire crews’ arrival.
Noting an investigation is ongoing, Cross would not speculate on how the fire started. However, Lempriere said police told him the cause was electrical. A police report notes the blaze was not suspicious and that a single light bulb in the coop may have short-circuited.