KELOWNA - Dawna Davies was out walking with her two daughters when she smelled smoke coming from Lester Road.
Concerned the smoke wasn't coming from a barbeque, Davies followed the smell to the scene of Tuesday's condo fire at 500 Lester Place.
At 7:20 p.m. Davies, who lives on Sylvania Crescent, says she was the first person at the scene where a fire was steadily burning through a condo unit, unbeknownst to the building's residents.
"There was nobody on scene – I was the first one there," Davies says, who remembers dialing 911 right away directing emergency responders to Leathead Road and Highway 97.
"I thought, oh my god, these people don't even know their house is on fire.“
Asking her children to wait for her away from the fire on a grassy area, Davies proceeded knocking on doors to alert the residents. She says one mother living in the building was grateful for the alert, sending her own kids already in their pyjamas outside to wait with Davies' children. The two women then went on to alert residents on the other side of the complex.
But no response came from the unit sitting beneath the flames.
"We thought there was a guy in the apartment that was on fire," Davies says, but couldn't muster a response.
"He had his deadbolt in, he had left town."
By the time the fire crews arrived, Davies says the building was evacuated, pets included.
Davies is skeptical a cigarette could have been the culprit. She recalls seeing the fire starting near the roof up in the attic area around a broken porch light socket.
"It was shot right out of its socket, dangling by a wire and smoke coming from it," she says.
While fire crews quickly extinguished the flames shortly after arriving on scene at 7:30 p.m., the quick action of a curious neighbour helped to avert a potentially devastating scenario.
Heroes big and small are to thank, Davies says.
Her two daughters are proud they helped calm some of the younger children in the building. Davies says, "they keep telling me: we're savers."
"It was a really good team effort."
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at email@example.com or call (250)718-0428.