Two occupants of a house destroyed by fire Saturday night were taken to hospital with severe burns.
Nineteen Prince George Fire Rescue firefighters from four halls responded to the blaze at about 9 p.m. and located the two people outside the house. Due to the extreme heat and flames, firefighters were unable to enter the building and had to fight the fire from the exterior.
Damage to the home at 1100 block Chilako Street where it intersects with Ahbau Street and a pickup truck and Honda sedan parked in the driveway that were scorched in the raging fire is estimated at about $400,000.
Cause of the fire is undetermined, subject to an investigation. There were no injuries to fire personnel. The house was put under 24-hour police surveillance until investigators have completed their work.
“There definitely was a lot of fire involved in the structure and the people who were involved were taken to hospital and their conditions are unknown at this point,” said Prince George Fire Rescue deputy chief Cliff Warner on Sunday afternoon. “Our crews worked for several hours to get the fire under control, so now it’s just a matter of investigation and we’re just putting the pieces together now.”
Fuel leaked and ran down the hill of the driveway onto Ahbau Street and was burning on top of the water firefighters were pouring onto the blaze. The burning fuel left large blackened patches on the sidewalks across the street and further up the road.
“Fortunately, the catch basins were plugged (with leaves), so the water just sat on the road so there was a bit of lake area last night,” said Warner. “There was definitely fuel, whether it was from the vehicles or whether there was fuel involved with the fire, I don’t know at this point.”
Larry Furmanczyk lives in the area, on Chilako Street, and had just gone to bed when he heard the first of several explosions. Furmanczyk said the house is notorious in the neighbourhood and is known to police, who have visited the occupants several times in the time he’s lived there.
“I just heard a big boom and I recognized a flash of light and it subsided before the house was totally engulfed in flames,” said Furmanczyk. “There was a series of explosions.
“The cops know about that place, for a number of years. It’s been going on for a little while. I think all the people in the neighbourhood were hoping the last time would be it, and whoever the owner is they would have made sure nobody nefarious was coming into the neighbourhood.”
Maria Branco was at her home a few houses away when the fire erupted.
“My dog barked and I went to the window and I saw the flames coming up,” said Branco. “After it started burning I heard some bangs. I did go outside but I wasn’t allowed to go down that way.
“The neighbours all called it the drug house or the crack house. There was a lot of activity that went on around there. It was not a safe place. This area is a nice place to live and I think right now that’s a good clean-up.”