Saturday, 23 April 2016 12:14

Fire destroys Swift Current home

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One home was completely destroyed and an adjacent home suffered significant damage in a fire on Russel Crescent in Swift Current, April 22. One home was completely destroyed and an adjacent home suffered significant damage in a fire on Russel Crescent in Swift Current, April 22. Matthew Liebenberg/Prairie Post

A raging fire destroyed one home and caused serious damage to an adjacent residence in Swift Current on Friday evening, April 22.

 

The fire started early Friday evening at a home on Russel Crescent in a neighbourhood on the city’s northwest side.

Swift Current Fire Chief Denis Pillon said the home where the fire started was already consumed by flames when firefighters arrived on scene.

“The first home was totally engulfed in flame,” he mentioned, “We had to concentrate on saving the houses on either side.”

Seventeen firefighters were on scene to battle the blaze. Strong winds made it very difficult to gain control of the fire.

“Our biggest challenge was the wind,” he said. “It was a wind-driven fire. So it was blowing along the houses and up under the eaves and into the attics.”

Although the house on the south side only suffered minor damage, the home on the north side also started to burn and it suffered significant damage.

“It was very involved in the attic, particularly because of the fire blowing up under the eaves,” he said.

The residents of the homes were able to get out safely and Pillon was not aware of any injuries.

“No injuries to firefighters,” he said. “The people got out safely.”

For the family of Ron Fritzke a regular Friday evening suddenly turned into a chaotic scene.

“It was about 6:35 in the evening,” he recalled. “Our boys just came home from the ball park and so we came downstairs. Our middle son said there was smoke coming from the house next door and seconds later a lady burst into our house, through our door, telling us to get out because the neighbour’s house was on fire.”

The family took a few things with them as they rushed out of their home as fast as possible.

“We managed to grab a few things and take it out, but other than that we got out of the house as quickly as we could,” he said.

According to Fritzke the fire grew rapidly into a big blaze.

“It started small but it was like minutes and it was huge,” he said.

He felt the direction of the wind helped to save their home.

“The wind was in the right direction for our house, but not good for the other side of the neighbours,” he said.

He appreciates the support from neighbours, which happened as soon as the fire started.

 “It was amazing,” he said. “We had maybe 20 to 30 people coming in, grabbing stuff and helping us take stuff out, pictures and valuables and stuff, and they were just amazing. I can’t say enough of the support they showed us.”

He noted that people were also supportive of the other two families who are affected by the fire.

“Everybody chips in during a time of need,” he said. “That’s what you want to see in a neighbourhood.”

Although they did not have power during the night, Fritzke was just thankful that his family was able to sleep in their own home. There is not much damage to the interior of the home, mostly some smoke damage, but more significant damage on the exterior.

“The siding on the outside is done and the soffits and stuff like that are damaged, and the fence,” he said.

Firefighters were on scene during the night and they were still busy to put out hot spots in the smouldering remains of the home on Saturday morning. The Swift Current Fire Department has already started an investigation into the cause of the fire.

“We’re doing the investigation now. We’ve got people working on it to try and determine the cause.”

A GoFundMe account has been set up for the family that lost their home in the fire. Donations can be made through the following link: https://www.gofundme.com/2mnmh6ks

A second GoFundMe account has also been established in support of the neighbouring family. Here is the link to that account: https://www.gofundme.com/2pjm6sks

See this photo gallery for more images of the damage to the three properties.

 
Read 3011 times Last modified on Saturday, 23 April 2016 15:05
Matthew Liebenberg

Reporter/Photographer

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