With smoke pouring out of an upstairs window some of the emergency personnel prepare to go back into the home.

With smoke pouring out of an upstairs window some of the emergency personnel prepare to go back into the home.

Fire crews battle fire in Bower

Red Deer Emergency Services fire-medics were on scene for several hours of a blaze that broke out at a southside home late Friday afternoon.

Red Deer Emergency Services fire-medics were on scene for several hours of a blaze that broke out at a southside home late Friday afternoon.

The house along Bettenson Street was the scene of a fire that billowed smoke across the Bower neighbourhood because of the southeasterly winds.

Public information officer Mike Godwin said neighbours dialed 911 at about 4:50 p.m. after seeing smoke coming from the basement.

Six minutes later, fire-medics arrived to find heavy smoke exiting the basement windows and a slight amount of smoke coming from the main and upper floors.

“They attempted to gain entry into the backside of the house but high heat conditions were hampering their efforts,” said Godwin at the scene at about 6:30 p.m.

The fire-medics made their way slowly down into the basement, but the fire changed drastically into what is known as a flashover. Crews had to leave immediately. A second crew came on scene and began to fight the fire, but in a defensive mode.

“As the crews were withdrawing, it flashed again,” said Godwin. “Now we’ve got involvement of the (whole fire) throughout the house, due to that flashover.”

Godwin said that crews hoped to re-enter the house to knock down the fire, but at this point were largely fighting the fire from the outside.

Seventy minutes after emergency personnel arrived, it was still unconfirmed as to whether anyone had been inside when the blaze broke out.

Neighbours told fire crews that everybody was out, Godwin said.

“But again because of high heat conditions and the fire conditions at the time, they were unable to do a proper search of the building,” Godwin said.

One fire-medic was seen climbing a ladder to a second floor window above the front garage, then using a long pole to smash the window. A couple of fire-medics used chainsaws to cut through the garage’s vinyl siding so they could let the smoke filter out.

Some people from surrounding homes gathered outside to watch on as the fire-medics, wearing headlamps, worked in the dark.

Nathan Johnson, who lives in a nearby close, said he walked over shortly after fire trucks arrived. He noticed a lot of smoke pouring out of the side of the house.

“I could hear a couple of popping explosions,” Johnson said.

Fire-medics used Class A foam which allows water to soak into materials like wood, plastics, papers. It helps to put out the fire more quickly than just using water, Godwin said.

One fire-medic, who suffered first-degree burns to the side of his head and neck, was taken to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

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