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Birthday party goes up in flames

A family from Port Coquitlam has been left homeless after their home was destroyed by a fire Tuesday night. The family was celebrating their child’s birthday  when flames started in the kitchen and spread to the second floor. The newly-wed couple, which has three children aged 12, 15, and 18, was renting the house on St. Thomas Street and does not have insurance to cover the losses.

“They were making dinner," said grandmother Roma McPherson. "It was my grandson’s birthday. They were going to make French-fries and hamburgers.

McPherson said she saw the fire and rushed the children out of the house.

“I saw the flames and they screamed ...and I saw the flames so I just herded the kids out and I could tell then it was getting beyond them being able to put it out, so the oldest son called 911,” she said.

The couple, three children and their grandmother all escaped with minor injuries but their two dogs did not survive.

Kristie Dana said her husband attempted to save the family's dogs but was overcome by the heat.

“My husband actually went back into the burning house to try and get them, but he said the heat was too much. He couldn’t get five feet in and he had to get out," she told CTV News through tears. "And he could hear them crying."

Neighbour Katelyn Rocan said she watched the house go up in flames after the fire trucks come down the street.

“I came outside and smoke just filled the air and the house just went up really fast,” she said, adding, “I freaked out as soon as I saw the power outlets blow. I saw blue flames flicker and it freaked me out.”

According to Port Coquitlam Fire Department Cpt. Jim Carter, three trucks and 12 firefighters responded to the “relatively large structure fire”.

“As we arrived, the second floor was fully involved. There were flames coming out of the second-floor windows,” he said, adding that while the fire did not cause damage to neighbouring houses the entire second-floor was destroyed and there is water damage on the ground floor.

"We are like, when you move out of your parents house and you have nothing," Dana said. "Cause that’s where we’re at. We have nothing."

Dana is expecting a fourth child in June and will be be staying in a hotel for now. Their phones and keys are still in the house and McPherson has started a Facebook page to help the family called “Let's Get The Dana Family Back on their Feet”.

A bank account has been set up to aid the family at Westminster Savings Credit Union. Cheques can be made out to Kristie or Ron Dana Association, account number 453799902.

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