August 08, 2014 - 4:04 PM
WEST KELOWNA – Dwight Unrau says he knew as soon as he kicked open the door to the house that there was no way he would be able to get up the stairs.
“No one was going up there without oxygen,” he says. “It was thick, black smoke right to the floor. There was no way to even crawl underneath it.”
Unrau was a few blocks away at Casa Loma Resort when he noticed a pillar of smoke coming from a house on Bennedick Road Friday at around 2 p.m. He and another man ran to the scene and decided to try and get inside to see if anybody was there.
The two men called out a few times and that's when they heard the frantic barking of a small dog.
“She was really freaked out,” he says. “Running around, there was just no way I could catch it.”
As Unrau struggled to get further inside the smoke-filled, two-storey house, another neighbour Shelley Lynn Mazur was at the back of the house also trying to catch the dog.
“He was so fast,” she says. “He knew he was in trouble but didn’t know what to do.”
Eventually she managed to get hold of the poodle-cross and carried him to safety.
West Kelowna Fire Rescue arrived on scene and found the roof of the house in flames.
Fire Chief Wayne Schnitzler says the house, which is also a bed and breakfast, suffered damage to the roof and ceiling but that no one was inside.
Although he doesn’t recommend people risk their lives to save an animal, he says he is impressed with the bravery shown by the three strangers.
“It’s really great to see that,” he says.
No one was seriously injured in the fire, however Mazur says she did inhale some smoke.
“I’m okay,” she says. “I probably do more damage to my throat when I’m screaming on my Sea-Doo.”
A cat also managed to get out of the house and both the cat and the dog are in the care of neighbours while RCMP try to contact the owners of the house.
The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.
(ADAM PROSKIW /InfoTel Multimedia)
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