Two 65-year-olds in Sanford, Man., have died in a house fire, RCMP said.
Mike Siemens, the fire chief for the Rural Municipality of Macdonald, says a volunteer firefighter was driving by Wednesday night, when he noticed the smoke and jumped into action.
“He spotted a house, called 911, banged on the door again and nobody answered so at that point he kicked in the door,” Siemens said. “The fire trucks still were not here. Heavy heat and smoke greeted him so he closed the door automatically and waited for the fire trucks.”
Emergency crews arrived at the home on River Crescent around 11 p.m.
“The doorbell rang, and it was one of the local firefighters driving by, and he told me there’s smoke coming out of the neighbour’s house,” neighbour Ryan Sotheran said. “So we got dressed and ran over and I went in the garage and I couldn’t see anything, and I just noticed the truck was home so I figured they must have been home.”
Officials say the flames quickly began burning out of control, the roof caved in and floors collapsed.
“When the trucks arrived, the fire was burning through the roof already, so it had been burning for some time,” Siemens said. “It appears the roof was breached, it got some fresh air, and the fire just took off.”
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RCMP said the bodies of the two residents were found when the fire was brought under control and firefighters were able to enter the home.
Sotheran says the couple was both retired, one of them had worked for the RM of Macdonald and had retired just a year ago. He says they were active members of the community and had previously been involved with local sports.
“They’re great, fun-loving people, always kept to themselves and great neighbours to have,” he said.
Siemens says the loss is tough for the entire community.
“I stand here, and I live just in the community down the road, and I look across the road and I know a lot of the people here. All these people knew this couple. The couple has been here for many years, raised their kids here,” Siemens said.
“My firefighters, at least half of the firefighters knew the couple, so that is tough.”
RCMP and the office of the fire commissioner are still investigating the cause of the blaze.