Multiple explosions heard by homeowner, neighbours before Lethbridge house fire

Lethbridge homeowner heard multiple explosions from garage before house went up in flames
WATCH: Multiple 911 calls made on Friday afternoon reported an explosion that is thought to be related to a house fire in north Lethbridge. Danica Ferris reports.

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.

READ MORE: House fire that killed Lethbridge man, dog deemed accidental by investigators

“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.”

Story continues below advertisement

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.

“We had multiple 911 calls coming in of an explosion on the north side,” said acting platoon chief Shawn Folk. “When we arrived on scene [we] were met with quite a bit of smoke, and lots of high heat, and intensity heat from the front doors.”

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.

Story continues below advertisement

“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

Investigators determine Lethbridge fatal fire to be accidental
Investigators determine Lethbridge fatal fire to be accidental