|Firefighters walk from a Clifton Road home that caught fire Sunday morning. The fire destroyed the home's garage and the roof above it.|
The 70-year-old retiree knew the fire was "awfully close" to his house at 567 Clifton Rd. When he drove up, his wife Margaret was standing outside and fire trucks were parked out front. Dark smoke twisted skyward from the roof of their garage.
Margaret Evans had smelled the smoke venting into the bathroom. Then she heard the explosion. The car in the garage - a '95 Nissan 240 SX - had caught fire. The coupe's gas tank had blown up.
Flames were burning through the roof of the two-level house when firefighters arrived. They donned oxygen tanks before blasting the flames with water and tearing into the ceiling to reach the attic. They knocked down the blaze within 20 minutes.
The fire destroyed the garage and the roof above it. Flames barely scorched the attached house, but the smoke and water damage was extensive.
The couple will be out of the house indefinitely. They were preparing for their annual trip to Arizona, but have put it off for now. Granger suspects a new electrical heater installed in the garage sparked the blaze.
"If we'd gone down south, none of this would have happened. That heater wouldn't have been on. Everything would have been shut down," he said.
The fire caps a year of bad news for the couple. Margaret nearly died of valley fever and pneumonia in Arizona. Their cat was killed in traffic on Clifton Road.
"And now this. I'm glad when it changes over to the next year," Granger said as he watched the fire fight from across the street.
The three-bedroom, 1,250-square-foot house is insured. The couple is staying with relatives in Kelowna as inspectors survey the destruction.
Fire officials were putting out hot spots in the attic half an hour after the call. It's too early to tell whether the main house can be salvaged, said Platoon Capt. Laurie Serres.
"Damage looks like it will be fairly extensive," he said. "It's always bad when this kind of stuff happens. What do you do? It's kind of tough."
The couple, who has lived in the 1980s-era house for 22 years, replaced the roof with new asphalt shingles two weeks ago. They were hoping to fix up the place, sell it and move to a little cul de sac.
"Some quiet little spot where we could have a pet again," said Granger. "Maybe this is going to force us to go to a different place . . . Take a negative and turn it into a positive."
The setback has given the former teacher and vice principal new perspective. He knows material things can be replaced. He just hopes his hockey equipment and tennis racket are OK.
"We could use a bit of a lift."