A fire that destroyed two homes Friday night in Red Deer spread so fast, there reportedly was not enough time for the smoke alarm to go off.
Cal Keys, whose son Kent and his family lost one of the homes, said fortunately, his daughter-in-law, Carissa, was standing at the kitchen window when she heard a pop.
“They were fortunate in that they could’ve all been dead, because the fire spread so fast, over top, in the roof, that the smoke alarm did not even go off,” said Keys, speaking of his son and his family, which includes Jaxson, 4, and Raya, 2.
“They only had time to grab the kids and were out of the house,” he said.
The family’s cat, Neko, who was about one year old, died.
Keys calls him “a handsome guy,” which the family brought home about six months ago.
Firefighters were called to the “fully involved” blaze on Lancaster Drive just after 11 p.m. Two homes and a garage were destroyed.
A third home, on the east, has some damage, said neighbour and homeowner Steve Dunn, who woke up to loud pounding when crews instructed the family to evacuate.
“We were out there till about 3 a.m.,” Dunn said, adding he was impressed with the effort of the firefighters, who seemed “so calm throughout the process.”
Fire crews were on scene until about 5 a.m. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
The second family whose home was destroyed, Julie Anderson Castrillon, her husband Jesus Castrillon and her 20-year-old daughter Eva Anderson, made it out safe.
The three of them each grabbed a cat and the dog and ran out the door at 215 Lancaster Dr.
Anderson Castrillon said her husband saw flames on the porch just as the family was getting ready to go to bed.
“Literally, our house was gone in two minutes. I can’t even believe it. It was like the movie Backdraft or something. It was just everywhere,” she said.
“We just saw patches of fire (in the back porch area of the house) and it turned into a big blanket, and then into a big wall.
“And then the fire came from the outside into the inside – like the walls of the inside of the house was just fire,” she recalled.
“It was crazy.”
Her husband suffered second-degree burns on his hands – mainly his fingers – as he was trying to get the dog out of the house.
Both of the Red Deer families are relieved they are all safe.