A family is starting over from scratch after an early morning fire Wednesday at a rural property east of Edmonton, which also sent two firefighters to hospital due to heat exposure.
Strathcona County firefighters were called to a fire at a single-family home in the area of Range Road 225A and Township Road 520 before 2 a.m.
Devin Capcara, deputy fire chief with Strathcona County Emergency Services, said crews arrived at a working fire with lots of black smoke. It’s believed the fire started in the basement of the home, Capcara said.
Russell Simpson rented the home and lived there with his wife and three children. He told Global News he turned on the dryer when he went to bed Tuesday night but woke up about 30 minutes later and was unable to breathe.
He said he could see flames under the dryer when he woke up and noticed that the heat was intense.
“It wasn’t even so much flames — there wasn’t flames coming out — as just the heat from the basement, and it started down there then just shot straight up the stairs,” Simpson said.
“Half an hour and we would have been dead.”
Firefighters tried to get into the basement, but Capcara said it was hard to access due to heat and low visibility. Crews fought the fire from the outside and the blaze was under control by 7:30 a.m. Firefighters and several emergency vehicles remained on scene after 8 a.m.
Capcara said the residents of the home were able to make it out safely. However, two firefighters were taken to hospital in Sherwood Park as a precaution for assessment because of heat exposure, Capcara said. Both members were doing well and heading home to rest, he added.
Simpson said his family and their pets are grateful they got out safely but noted they did not have renters’ insurance. He said his family would be grateful for any donations as the fire took almost everything from them and said he can be reached on Facebook.
The house suffered heavy fire, smoke and water damage. The cost of the damages is not yet known, nor is the cause.