A cigarette discarded in bark mulch is likely to blame for a house fire that has caused a young family to lose their home on Tuesday afternoon.
Around 4:30 p.m., Township and Surrey fire crews arrived to find flames shooting out the roof of the home, located at 7260 196 St.
Township assistant fire chief Pat Walker said the quick and “heroic actions” of a neighbour should be noted. Dustin Favelle, 26, was returning home from work when he saw the smoke. He quickly went over to the house, which was one street over. That’s when he saw the smoke and flames.
Seeing several pairs of shoes outside the home, Favelle began pounding on the door. When no one answered, he kicked it in.
Another passerby also helped, he said.
The home was filled with smoke, but he didn’t see anyone so he closed the door behind him and waited for fire crews to arrive. The house’s occupants, including at least two young kids, weren’t home at the time of the blaze.
“It was also good thinking to close the door behind him to prevent a backdraft,” said Walker.
Walker said following 38 days of dry weather, landscaping is tinder dry.
“The fire started in bark mulch in the neighbouring walkway. That fire led to the cedar trees beside the home which went up like match sticks,” said Walker. The amount of heat caused the home’s vinyl siding to ignite, with the flames reaching into the attic.
The northwest corner of the roof was burned off and there is significant water damage to the inside of the home.
The heat from the fire also melted the vinyl siding of a neighbouring home.
Provincial Disaster Assistance staff were there and provided the family with accommodation.
Walker said fire crews had been to that neighbourhood last week because of a bark mulch fire caused by a cigarette.
Because it is a compact neighbourhood, the situation could have been worse, he added. But because the neighbourhood sits on the border of Langley and Surrey, both fire departments were able to extinguish it quickly.
Files from Times reporter Gary Ahuja