LACOMBE — Fire destroyed three homes in Lacombe early Tuesday morning.
All three families — a total of six adults and seven children — in the Henner’s Pointe homes escaped without injury.
Damage is estimated at about $3 million.
The fire is suspected to have started in the front attached garage at 4511 Henner’s Pointe before 5 a.m. Flames spread to homes on either side, at 4513 and 4509 Henner’s Pointe.
“What woke us up was the noise. We thought someone was out on the street pushing the garbage bin over. As soon as we got out of bed, we could see the neighbour’s garage fully involved,” said Brian Newbury, whose home was one of those that burned near the intersection of Henner’s Gate.
His wife ran out to wake up the neighbours and he called 911.
Newbury is a firefighter and training officer with the Lacombe Fire Department, which has a team of about 30 volunteer firefighters. He and his family have lived on the street on the north side of Lacombe for about four and a half years.
“It’s a little bit different to be on the other side of the fence this time. It still catches you off guard. It’s still a little surreal,” said Newbury about watching his fellow firefighters respond to the fire that burned his home.
His house has significant fire damage and almost a metre of water in the basement.
The fire had not yet reached his home when his family woke up from the banging and popping sounds of the fire. But with homes built so close together these days, it doesn’t take long for heat and flames to reach other buildings, he said.
Lacombe fire chief Ed van Delden said fire had a hold on the middle home and flames were licking up the sides of the other two homes when firefighters arrived shortly after 5 a.m.
“Most of the fire was at the front of the home so we suspect that it was started somewhere in the attached garage or somewhere adjacent to it,” van Delden said.
The entire block was evacuated and the fire was under control after an hour and a half.
“We think it’s a total loss of the three homes,” van Delden said. He said damage is estimated at about $3 million.
Wes Huether was one of several area residents who were watching the firefighters at work.
“This is when you appreciate the quality of the emergency services in this town,” said Huether, who heard what sounded like a propane tank explode at about 4:45 a.m.
“It’s a sad thing.”
Newbury said his family will land on its feet.
“Everybody is out and OK, so all the irreplaceable stuff has been saved.”
Firefighters from Blackfalds, Clive and Bentley also responded to fight the fire.
Canadian Red Cross Personal Disaster Assistance Team is helping the fire victims by providing emergency food, clothing and accommodations for 72 hours.
Lacombe Storage, at 4014 52nd Ave., is collecting donations of clothing and basic household items for the families and gift cards.