The Campbell River Fire Department is crediting smoke detectors with saving the lives of five Campbell Riverites after a fire ripped through their home Saturday morning.
“Working smoke alarms save lives,” read the post on Twitter Saturday morning from the fire department, which also said the fire spread through the home “in just minutes.”
Patty Westwood, a witness to the fire, was driving by the home on her way to work on Saturday morning.
“I almost drove by, but then realized by the colour of the smoke ‘that’s a housefire,’” she said. “I slammed on my brakes, and just left my car running on the side of the road and kind of ran toward the house to make sure that everyone was getting out.”
Westwood said the occupants of the home were already on their way out, and had called 911 at this point.
“At one point, as soon as everyone that was in the burning house got out, I was in my head like ‘oh my god, did anyone tell the neighbours next door?’” she said. “I ran around to the other side of the driveway, and there was a little boy in the window staring out. he was probably only about two. I just started hammering on the door to try and get attention of whoever lives in the house. She finally came to the door, she had been asleep. She was really scared because of course I was madly trying to hammer on her door. She opened it, and I told her ‘the house next door is fully engulfed in fire, we need to get you out.’ She handed me her little guy, he was probably not even two, she grabbed her shoes and was out behind me as we ran across the street.”
By the time firefighters arrived on scene around 9 a.m. on Dec. 12, both floors of the home were fully engulfed in flames.
All occupants of the home escaped without injury, although one was sent to hospital for smoke inhalation, chief Thomas Doherty explained.
“Crews arrived to find the two story home heavily involved in fire. Fire crews confirmed all five occupants were able to get out…” Doherty said in an email to the Mirror.
“The home suffered significant damage, no dollar loss available yet. The cause is under investigation.”
Crews were on scene Monday working to determine the cause of the fire.
A fundraising effort has been started by a friend of the family who lost their home.
Louise Smith is organizing the GoFundMe campaign to benefit the family with a goal of reaching $5,000 in donations, which was met within 48 hours. As of Dec. 14, it was at $5,080.
This story has been updated.