KAMLOOPS – On Monday Nancy Klassen stood in front of what’s left of her home after a fire tore through it the day before, claiming it and all her belongings.
She remains composed given the circumstances, and is simply thankful she and her two children, eight and 12, escaped unharmed from the Sunday, May 11, fire.
“(We’re) staying in a hotel and taking it one day at a time,” Klassen says.
Klassen believes the fire was started from candles her children gifted her for Mother’s day. She thinks the family cat Tippy may have knocked the candle over and the flames then spread to either the curtains or a blanket laying on the side of the couch, and quickly took off from there.
Klassen says when she saw the flames, she grabbed her kids and her cell phone, and ran out the door, stopping to call 9-1-1 from a neighbour’s home.
A strong, smoky smell remains in the air Monday, and the stench seems to linger on anything and everything in the vicinity.
Monday morning Darren Barnes of ServiceMaster came in to secure the scene and recover a safe Klassen believes is still in the home. In a hazmat-like suit and breathing apparatus, Barnes retrieves what is left of her belongings. He figures because of the extensive damage the home will be a total loss.
Hub and Billie-Jean Renaud, Neighbours across the street, say they were not prepared for the excitement on Sunday.
“At first, white smoke, then black smoke, then flames, then explosion,” Hub says, explaining there was only about a minute between each escalation. He figures a small propane tank caught on fire, and says it was lucky the gas line hadn’t exploded as well.
Billie-Jean says she was alerted to the fire when her two small, very vocal dogs started barking furiously. She then saw smoke billowing out the windows of the home. She made Hub hose-down their garden shed because she was afraid if the wind shifted hot ash could blow onto her property.
“There was a lot of heat coming out of that place,” Hub says, adding the siding of the adjacent home melted from the heat.
The pair says the closest hydrant is on Westsyde Road, meaning hoses had to be brought up the hill and fed into the park, making more work for firefighters. Billie-Jean figures it took them almost ten minutes before they could start the hose.
“They’re down there hooking up and I’m watching this place, you know, go ka-boom,” she says.
She says with all the cars parked on both sides of the road the hose got caught on a car tire and she watched in disbelief as two firefighters had to wrench the hose free.
Billie-Jean says she feels awful for the Klassen family, and hopes Nancy will land safely on her feet.
“I think it was an unfortunate accident, and I feel really bad for the kids if it was a candle that they bought mom for mother’s day.”
A Go Fund Me campaign has been started for the family as well as a facebook page collecting clothes, dishes, furniture or anything else residents are willing to donate.
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