Vernon Fire Rescue investigating blaze that torched home
A home in Vernon won’t be habitable for quite some following an intense fire on Thursday afternoon.
The blaze completely burned the roof, with extensive water and smoke damage throughout the home, Vernon Fire Rescue Chief David Lind told Global News.
“The house isn’t suitable to be inhabited today or anytime in the near future,” said Lind.
He added that when firefighters arrived on scene there was no one home, but a family pet cat was removed alive and well from the residence.
“We are unsure right now,” Lind said of the fire’s cause. “We know there was a grass fire adjacent to the home, so we’re not sure if the grass fire started first or if the grass fire was sparked by the home.
“So we have an investigation and we’ll be looking into that over the next few days.”
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Lind said security will be on the property until the investigation is complete.
“The efforts of the firefighters, they did a great job,” the fire chief said. “The house immediately adjacent to the house that was on fire, it was very close and was exposed to the heat and the smoke from the fire.
“They did a great job of protecting it and keeping the fire from spreading. It has minimal damage that needs to be repaired, like siding and that type of thing, but the residents are able to stay in that home, so that’s a big success.”
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A witness to Thursday’s incident, Catherine Pynappels, says while en route with her young daughter to visit a family member, she saw smoke rising from the fire.
Pynappels said she followed the smoke and “when we turned the corner, we could see the side of the house on fire, so I quickly pulled over.”
Pynappels said she notified a nearby neighbor of the fire, then noticed a woman with a baby crying out front of the burning home before calling 911.
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“When I was done knocking on the [neighbour’s] door, I saw the mom run back into the house with her baby to get some of her items,” said Pynappels, “so I followed her in there.”
Pynappels said the panicked woman was looking for pictures, but convinced her to leave the burning home.
“So we went out and sat across the street and waited for the fire trucks to come, and it didn’t take long for that house to be fully engulfed in flames.”
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Coming across the fire, said Pynappels, was intense.
“Through the lens of a camera, it doesn’t seem so intense, but in person, it’s really hot, it’s really smoky, it was quite scary,” she said, adding her vehicle became incidentally trapped in the cul-de-sac for hours because of emergency vehicles.
“My [nine-year-old] daughter was pretty traumatized and the [mother] was of course traumatized … it was emotionally draining after it was all said and done.”
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.