A fire destroyed two homes and three garages in a Sardis neighbourhood in the early hours on July 11. (Photo John Lippold)

UPDATE w/ VIDEO: Two Sardis homes destroyed, others damaged, in massive fire

Flames hit so fast and hard smoke alarms didn’t even go off in at least one house

Fire tore through a Sardis neighbourhood so fast Wednesday morning that one resident said her working smoke alarms didn’t even go off.

“When I woke up I couldn’t even smell anything,” Rachel Perigny said just hours after the blaze destroyed the house where she lived with her husband and two children.

“The smoke alarms all work. We know because burnt toast sets them off. But the way the flames came through, there wasn’t enough smoke inside to set them off.”

Perigny and her family were awakened instead by pounding on the door from a resident of the coachhouse behind the Safflower Crescent house they rented.

Perigny said her 12-year-old daughter and a friend (over for a sleepover) heard the neighbour’s pounding, saw the orange flames, grabbed the hamster and got outside. Then she grabbed her 10-year-old son, the six-year-old Labrador, and they got out safely as well.

Their family is one of six who are at least temporarily displaced after the fire that struck in the early hours of July 11, including a single mother and her son in a basement suite and the couple from the coach house who saved them.

It was at approximately 3 a.m. when the Chilliwack Fire Department was dispatched to the house. Firefighters from halls 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 arrived to heavy smoke and flames from two homes, two garages and one carriage home.

Due to the intense fire and structural damage to multiple residences, firefighters set up a defensive response, and were able to stop the fire from spreading to adjacent properties.

In addition to the five structures essentially destroyed, 11 more structures suffered minor heat damage.

There were no civilian or firefighter injuries, and while Perigny and her family escaped with their dog, bunny and hamster, it’s unclear if a cat escaped the basement suite.

By Wednesday afternoon, the Chilliwack Fire Department said the fire was under investigation. They didn’t say whether the cause was suspicious, but anyone with information was asked to call the RCMP (604-792-4611) or Crimestoppers (1-800-222-8477).

For her part, Perigny said there “seems to be some strange circumstances around it all.”

In the short term, she said he family has a place to stay but they need to find something else for around $2,000 a month to rent. A friend set up a GoFundMe to help with short-term needs at www.gofundme.com/z5vpv-emergency-funding-needed.

The page says the family will need immediate items such as clothing, food and toiletries, and in the long-term they will need funds for furniture, bedding, kitchen items and kids toys/books, as they get back on their feet.

Perigny said they lost everything and she feels “silly” for not having content insurance.

“We did have it and then when it came for renewal we just couldn’t afford it. So I don’t want to play any pity card,” she said. “I’m so grateful that the living beings are OK.”

Perigny said the neighbouring house that was also destroyed was recently purchased by a couple with two small children, but she didn’t know their names.


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The aftermath of a fire that destroyed two homes and three garages on Safflower Crescent in Chilliwack on July 11. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Comments are closed

Just Posted

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

Tourism Chilliwack rolls out mobile visitors’ centre in an RV called Winston

Part of an innovative recovery plan following the hit local tourism has taken from COVID-19

Search continues for person seen floating in Coquihalla River in Hope

Rescuers halted the search Thursday night as darkness fell

Missing Chilliwack woman has not been in contact with family for several months

The RCMP are asking for the public’s help in locating 35-year-old Chantelle Chenier of Chilliwack

Rescuers halt Coquihalla River search due to darkness, after reports of person in river

No information to indicate a child is involved, RCMP state, after this information surfaced on social media

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

Greater Vancouver home sales start to tick up, with prices holding steady

Residential sales last month reached 2,443, a 64.5 per cent jump from May

Langley Lodge’s deadly outbreak declared over

Fraser Health and long-term care home administrator confirm Friday declaration

PHOTOS: South Surrey tractor project evokes ‘$1-million smile,’ helps connect neighbours

Retired Surrey firefighter Ron Henze began project for friend’s dad to fill time during pandemic

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Most Read