PHOTOS: Bystander alerts Saanich residents of house fire

Firefighters douse hotspots inside a home that went up in flames on Thursday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Emergency crews are working to extinguish a fire in the 500-block of Walter Avenue. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
A Saanich firefighter cools down after being inside a home that went up in flames on Thursday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Firefighters stand on a collapsed roof of a home that went up in flames on Thursday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Emergency crews extinguished a blaze in the 500-block of Walter Avenue Thursday afternoon.

The fire started around 11:50 p.m. Two people were in the home but were able to escape the fire, partly thanks to bystander Cindy Ihlen, who was walking by the home with her son when she saw smoke rising from the house.

She saw a man on the phone with 9-1-1 dispatchers and asked if he had checked for anyone inside the home. When he said no, Ihlen took matters into her own hands.

“I ran down and they have a big knocker so I started knocking on the door…I started yelling, ‘there’s a fire, get out, get out!’” she recalled. “My knees are still shaking.”

READ ALSO: No one injured in Saanich townhouse fire

Two men left the home, seemingly unaware that the structure was on fire, Ihlen said.

“I didn’t think it was our house,” said homeowner Rick Hyland. “I thought it was the neighbours.”

Shortly after they evacuated, the fire grew huge, Ihlen said, with flames burning holes in the ceiling and pushing their way out of the side of the home.

“It was absolutely shocking how fast it went up from there.”

Assistant Deputy Chief Rob Heppell with the Saanich Fire Department called the blaze “significant” and said that upon arrival crews were met with heavy smoke and flames coming from the home. He added that inside the home there was a “good fuel load” from the contents of the home.

Saanich Fire Department responded with three engines, a ladder apparatus and a rescue truck. An investigation will be done to determine the cause of the fire.


 

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