Homeowner Bryan Beekman said he has lost everything after his house went up in flames Friday afternoon, following what he described as “four or five” explosions coming from his garage.
Crews were alerted to the fire — in the 2400 block of 7 Avenue N — at about 12:30, with all four Lethbridge stations responding, for a total of 27 firefighters.
Beekman, an amputee, hopped out of the house with his two dogs before the building was engulfed by the inferno. He said that a couple renting his garage were in the home when the fire began.
“We were sitting downstairs, having a couple drinks,” said Beekman, “I was renting my garage out to a couple friends — they messaged me, said they really needed a place to stay — and next thing, we hear a couple of explosions… and grabbed the dogs and got out.”
Beekman said prior to the incident he noticed a strong chemical odour coming from the garage, where the tenants were renting.
“I think they might have been cooking something in my garage.”
“They were just renting the garage,” he said. “They just got their stuff in early this morning.”
All occupants, as well as two dogs, escaped the home without injury. The renters — a male and female — fled the scene shortly after crews arrived.
With an investigation underway, Lethbridge Fire weren’t willing to speculate on the cause of the blaze.
The stubborn blaze took multiple attempts to put out, before crews got the scene under control.
READ MORE: Man, dog dead after Lethbridge house fire
In the process, a firefighter was injured and sent to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
“Some of the drywall had come down,” said Folk, “while they were reaching up with pipe poles, pulling down, just looking for extension of the fire, or possibly anything smouldering or still hot that could rekindle.”
The total damage is estimated at $200,000 according to the Lethbridge Police Service, with Beekman saying that his wheelchair and prosthetic leg were among the lost property.
With the cause of the fire still unknown, Lethbridge Fire will begin its investigation together with the Lethbridge Police Service, which will determine whether illicit activity may have contributed to the incident.
WATCH: (July 23, 2019) Investigators determine Lethbridge fatal fire to be accidental