Image tweeted by Cindy Coubrough

Blackfalds duplex fire causes $230,000 damage

Residents suffered minor smoke inhalation when returning for belongings

A Blackfalds house fire on Wednesday prompted a reminder from the fire chief that residents should not risk going back in for possessions.

The Blackfalds Volunteer Fire Department was called to a blaze in a duplex at about 4:30 p.m. at Womacks and Leung roads.

“It was fully involved, on the upper level” when firefighters arrived, said Chief Robert Cote.

Ten firefighters managed to contain the $230,000 blaze to the upper floor and roof. The cause of the fire, which took about 90 minutes to put out, remains under investigation.

Two couples lived in the duplexes and three residents were on scene when firefighters arrived. All got out safely, but unwisely went back in.

“They got out and went back in for possessions. I had to go in and get them,” said Cote.

While it is tempting to try to retrieve important items such as wallets and cellphones, Cote said it is not worth the risk.

The residents who went back into the homes escaped with minor smoke inhalation. But the effects of breathing in smoke can linger for many hours, said Cote.

“Your respiratory system can start shutting down after 24 hours,” he said. “It’s internal. You can’t see it.”

Hours after a blaze, firefighters will go in with gas detectors when going through a home, because of the dangers, he said.

The homeowners have all found other places to stay, he said.

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