One dog has been confirmed dead and another is missing following a Jan. 14 residential fire in Blind Bay.
But the homeowners made it out alive, most likely because they were alerted to the fire by their dogs’ barking, says Columbia Shuswap Regional District Assistant Fire Chief Sean Coubrough.
He says the couple who own the home then tried desperately to get their dogs to safety but were unable to coax them out.
The fire in the log-style home on Centennial Road was reported at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Monday. Mutual aid was requested from White Lake and Tappen-Sunnybrae fire departments.
Coubrough says firefighters arrived to find the rear of the house fully involved and were quick to get water on the blaze. “The fire travelled to the roof very quickly and it took a lot of water to get the fire under control.”
Initially believed to have started in the laundry room area, Coubrough says it seems the fire’s point of origin may have been outside.
“We’re starting to focus our investigation more on the outside, in a carport,” Coubrough says, noting that upon hearing the dogs barking, one of the homeowners had gone to investigate. “She heard crackling and saw an orange glow coming from the outside.”
The homeowners were assessed by South Shuswap First Responders followed by BC Ambulance paramedics, and were transported to Shuswap Lake General Hospital for smoke inhalation and possible minor burns.
“They were in pretty good shape,” he says, noting that as of Wednesday, the couple was being supported by Emergency Social Services and the RCMP Victim Services.
“It seems like maybe the dogs saved their lives. They were heroes.”
Meanwhile, the investigation continues and whether or not the structure is salvageable will be decided by the homeowners and their insurance agent, Coubrough says.