The tenants of a west Lethbridge home woke up to find it engulfed in flames early Monday morning.
Next door neighbour Liam Connel said he called 911 and immediately alerted his roommates.
“By the time we got out to the street… the whole roof was just ablaze,” he said. “You couldn’t really see inside what was happening, but it was bad.”
The homeowner, Cole Geschwendt, said he and his wife are thankful their tenants — a family of four– were able to safely get out of the house.
“There’s good neighbours around here and they all knocked on each other’s doors and made sure everyone was safe,” Geschwendt said.
“Thankfully no one was injured. Houses can be rebuilt but we’re happy that they’re out and safe.”
Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services responded to the Blackfoot Road W. home at around 4:30 a.m.
“The house had fire that was about 20 to 30 feet above the roofline and the fire was fully involved with the roof structure,” Platoon Chief Dave Heatherington explained.
The 22 dispatched firefighters were able to quickly get the fire under control with no injuries reported.
“The fire crews — when they arrived on scene — started putting water on the fire initially,” Heatherington said.
“They were able to rescue one more dog from the fire. Unfortunately though, there were still two cats and one dog still on scene.”
It’s not clear whether the missing animals were able to make it out.
Connel has set up a GoFundMe page for his next-door neighbours.
Their extended family members are reaching out on Facebook groups to request basic supplies and clothing items.
“They’re great — a mom and three good girls — and we just want the best for them,” Geschwendt said. “Especially right before the holidays, they put up their tree last night.”
Officials said the damage is estimated at $400,000 and the cause is still under investigation. Fire officials said it’s a good reminder for people to be wary of fire hazards and to check their smoke detectors this holiday season.