Residents flee burning home

John K. White

UPDATE: 8 p.m.

A grass fire quickly spread to a nearby house on the 5700 block of Commonage Place in Vernon on Thursday.

Residents managed to escape without injury, and the family cat was thrown through a window to safety during the escape.

The fire quickly shot up the rear of the house and got into the roof and shingles, which sent thick, black smoke billowing 30 metres into the sky.

Vernon firefighters arrived on scene soon after the first calls came in at about 2 p.m., and discovered the house was fully involved in fire, with flames shooting through the roof.

Crowds of onlookers and neighbours gathered at a safe distance to watch the firefight, some visibly emotional.

"They were able to suppress the house, containing it to the house of origin," said Vernon Fire Chief David Lind at the scene. "There was minor damage to the home next door."

"There were no injuries and there was no loss of life. The family pet was removed from the building and was taken to the vet and was doing well."

Firefighters could be seen administering oxygen to the cat through a pet-sized breathing apparatus.

"We'll be doing an investigation and looking into the fire more in the next while," Lind said.

The chief said he was impressed with the work the crews did.

"They were able to really limit the damage to the home next door, they did a wonderful job," Lind added. 

It was a warm, sunny afternoon and crews made sure to stay hydrated and to take shifts during the fight.

"A lot of the firefighters are keeping hydrated and working in shifts and cycles so we haven't had any injuries either," Lind said.

Castanet will have more on this fire once more details are confirmed.

UPDATE: 7:29 p.m.

There were no residents or firefighters injured in the blaze and a pet cat was rescued from the building uninjured.

First reports called in to the fire department were of a grass fire that was very close to a building.

Residents reportedly fled the home once the fire reached the house. A witness on scene said the woman threw the cat out of the window to save it.

UPDATE 3:34 p.m.

Firefighters have now entered the building, but there are still visible flames on the second floor.

The roof of the home is almost completely gone and the siding on the home next door has melted from the heat.

UPDATE 3:19 p.m.

Fire crews have knocked down the flames and are working on hotspots in the home.

A firefighter was spotted holding what is believed to be the family cat. There is no word if any animals perished in the blaze or if anyone was hurt.

UPDATE 3 p.m.

Crews are getting the fire under control but there is heavy damage to the second floor of the single-family dwelling.

There is also extensive smoke and water damage.

UPDATE 2:39 p.m.

Smoke and flames are pouring out of the roof of a house.

Numerous firefighters are on scene of the fire that broke out shortly after 2 p.m.

Castanet has been receiving reports of a fire on Commonage Crescent.

It is believed Vernon Fire Rescue crews are on scene.

Castanet Vernon news editor John White is heading to the scene and Castanet will have more information as soon as it becomes available.


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