A massive house fire that started with an explosion rocked Agassiz on Sunday night.
Witnesses on the scene were first alerted to the fire by the large explosion, many of them said. The house, located at Canterbury Drive and Sheffield Drive, was then quickly engulfed in flames and destroyed by the fire. Neighbours watched from their driveways and the streets clogged with cars as people came to see the fire.
Two men were taken to hospital for burn injuries, and one of them remains in a burn unit with serious injuries. They both were flown via air ambulance, which landed near the south entrance to Agassiz on Hwy. 9. One neighbour, Monica Little, said she heard the first large explosion at about 6:45 p.m., which was followed by several smaller explosions. Fire response was quick, she added.
“Within five minutes the fire trucks and four ambulances were arriving,” she said. “The house was already totally destroyed. I could help thinking how brave those firemen/women were, standing so close to a blazing fire … to protect the neighbourhood.”
The fire was “scary and immense,” she said. “We noticed the garage door had flown across the street.”
Both Popkum and Agassiz fire halls responded to the fire, with a total of 37 firefighters working that night alongside numerous paramedics and RCMP. Harrison Hot Springs provided core coverage for the area while Popkum and Agassiz focused on the fire. On Monday morning, as fire officials, RCMP, Terasen and others surveyed the damage, the evidence of an explosion was made more obvious, as pieces of the house lay twisted across the street. Fire chief Wayne Dyer said the garage door was found about 50 feet from the house.
At least one neighbouring house was seriously damaged due to the heat of the fire. Agassiz fire officials and the RCMP are actively investigating the fire.