Eastview fire destroys garage, leaps to roof of nearby home (video)

Investigators are trying to find out what caused a fire that severely damaged a Red Deer couple’s home and garage early Wednesday afternoon.

A City of Red Deer fire-medic work to extinguish a fire in Eastview Estates Wednesday afternoon. The blaze destroyed an unattached garage and caused severe damage to the house on the property.

A City of Red Deer fire-medic work to extinguish a fire in Eastview Estates Wednesday afternoon. The blaze destroyed an unattached garage and caused severe damage to the house on the property.



Investigators are looking for the cause of a fire that severely damaged a Red Deer couple’s home and destroyed their detached garage early Wednesday afternoon.

Retired television technician Gary Mah was sitting at his computer and his wife, Joyce, was at work downtown when a neighbour banged on the door of their home at 172 Eastman Cres.

The neighbour told Gary to get out of the house fast because the garage was on fire.

“(Gary) frantically called me,” said Joyce.

“By the time I got here, because it was noon-hour rush, it already had got into the house. I could see the smoke when I was driving up here, and I thought: ‘Oh, my God,’ because I didn’t know that it was more than the garage. I was a wreck. Gary was sitting in the ambulance.”

A neighbour had put Sammy and Suzi, the couple’s small dogs, into a car to keep them safe.

Insurance will provide the Mahs with temporary housing while the fire is investigated and their claim is settled, said Joyce.

She learned the fire started in the detached garage and leapt the short distance to the roof of the house, catching in the insulation.

She had no idea where in the garage the fire had started or what could have set it off. The garage was not heated and there was no vehicle inside.

Gary had just finished clearing snow that had been tracked into the garage and returned to the house to work on the computer when he heard the pounding at the door, she said.

“They don’t know how it started. (Gary) couldn’t smell anything and he was out there,” she said.

The Mahs have not been allowed back inside.

Joyce said they hope to return to the house in a couple of days to salvage whatever possessions they can. She is most worried about photographs and family keepsakes.

“If we can salvage that, that’ll make me happy. It’s pretty devastating but at least, you know, nobody’s hurt.” There’s no estimate available yet on the amount of damage.

Gary said he was badly shaken up at first but started to feel better after Joyce arrived.

Deputy Fire Chief Greg Adair said Red Deer Emergency Services was first called to the scene at 12:09 p.m. The fire had destroyed the garage and caused substantial damage to the back side of the house, said Adair. Once fire crews have finished at the scene, it is standard practice for the fire department to board the property up and have a guard posted to keep intruders out, he said.

bkossowan@www.reddeeradvocate.com