|The kitchen and living room of a Vernon house on 30th Avenue were destroyed Monday night in a fire. Two residents were injured.|
The man and woman awoke to smoke and flames on the main floor of the 30th Avenue house shortly before 6 a.m. Tuesday. Next-door neighbour Derek Kruysifix heard yelling and saw the man outside without shoes or shirt and covered in soot.
Kruysifix, an off-duty firefighter, gave the man some shoes and clothes and called in the fire. His girlfriend drove the couple to Vernon Jubilee Hospital.
"The occupants of the home were quite distraught," said Deputy Chief Jack Blair of Vernon Fire and Rescue. "They were lucky to get out without serious injury."
The couple, in their late 20s or early 30s, managed to shoo their two dogs and several cats out of the house but one of the cats perished. The man was burned on his back. He and his girlfriend were still in hospital getting treated for burns and smoke inhalation late Tuesday, said Fire Chief Keith Green.
The tenants shared the rental house at 20th Street with another couple who lived in the basement. They heard the ruckus and got out safely.
Heavy smoke was rising from the front of the 1960s-era home when firefighters arrived. The heat shattered several windows, which allowed in fresh air that intensified the flames.
Crews aimed hose lines at the blaze and held it to the main floor of the 2,200-square-foot home. Officials believe it started on the rear side of the main floor. They were withholding the cause Monday but said it was not suspicious.
Twenty-three firefighters were on scene.
"The house was an old building that was difficult to overhaul. The sawdust and insulation in the roof made it challenging. The kitchen and living room are destroyed," said Deputy Fire Chief Lawrie Skolrood.
A woman was living in a recreation vehicle alongside the house. She got out OK but all five residents must stay away for awhile. The house sustained heavy damage and may have to be demolished, Blair said.
"It will be major renovations to the house . . . It's a possible tear-down."
Emergency Support Services are providing hotel rooms and food to the displaced residents for three days.