An early-morning blaze that originated from a home under construction on Sisson Avenue and spread to two homes on either side was terrifying and horrifying, said a nearby neighbour.
The Red Deer woman who asked not to be named said today that her dog woke her up around 3 a.m. and she could see a orange glow through her windows. She raced to her children’s bedroom to look out the window and was shocked to see that a home directly across the street was engulfed in fire.
“I ran to call 911 and when I got back up the stairs, the fire department was already here.
“It was terrifying and then you worry about those people, did they get out? I know they did now but there was a moment of horror and terror at the same time.”
Red Deer Emergency Services platoon chief Randy Kidd said they arrived on scene after getting the call shortly after 3 a.m. A middle house that was under construction was fully engulfed with fire and it had spread to relatively new two-storey homes next door.
All the occupants made it out safety and no injuries were reported. Kidd said the families are staying with other family members at this time.
“The fire did spread fast,” Kidd said at the scene on Friday. “We are not sure what state of construction the middle house was in but exposed wood would make it spread quicker.”
Firefighters are thankful that it was not an overly windy morning as they fought to save other nearby homes.
“This was fortunate because it could have been worse than it did end up,” Kidd said.
About 18 firefighters had the blaze under control by 4:53 a.m.
By mid-morning today, crews were still on scene trying to determine the cause of the fire and were extinguishing hot spots.
Kidd said it is too soon to speculate on the cause of the fire. Arson has not been ruled out but was not identified as the source.
Four people lived in the home to the north and three people lived in the home to the south. A neighbour said the family of three moved into their home only a couple of weeks ago.
Stacy Pickard, who previously worked with the company Landmark Homes, had a hand in building the home on the north side. She said the houses are worth about $580,000. She also knows the family, with two children, who lived in the now destroyed home. She said they would have taken possession of their home six to eight months ago.
“My friend called me this morning and she knew that I helped build that house for them. I have been crying all morning — I just want to know that they are OK.
“They are wonderful people,” she said as tears rolled down her face.
Terry and Diane Kulczycki were to take possession of their home on July 3. It was located beside the home that was destroyed on the south side. Their home is still standing and intact but has severe siding damage.
“We have some friends who live behind here who called us at 3:15 a.m. and said, ‘Your house is on fire’ so we got dressed and came down here,” Terry said.
“It was a ball of flames. You could see from way back and we were quite concerned because it looked like half the neighbourhood was in flames.
“They were doing everything they could to save our house,” said the Kulczyckis, who were thanking fire investigators on scene.