Two North Vancouver residents were lucky to be alive Monday after narrowly escaping an early-morning fire in a house with no smoke detectors, according to firefighters.
One of the victims was working at a computer in the Prospect Avenue home at about 1 a.m. Monday when a power fluctuation alerted him that there might be a problem elsewhere in the house. When he got up to investigate, he found the dining area on the second floor in flames, said firefighters. He alerted his partner, and they hurried outside.
Crews arrived minutes later to find flames pouring from the second-floor windows. Firefighters rushed in and doused the flames, but not before fire had gutted two rooms and smoke had severely damaged much of the top two storeys.
Fortunately the owners were unhurt.
“They went to hospital to get checked out, but they were fine,” said assistant fire chief Wayne Kennedy. “By sheer luck, they were awake and were able to call and get out of there. If they hadn’t (been), then we’re looking at something that could have been a tragedy.”
The home’s only smoke detector was dead, said Kennedy. If the couple had slept through the first few minutes of the fire, smoke would have quickly filled their bedroom. They could easily have died of inhalation, he said.
“There’s a message there about . . . the importance of having functioning smoke detectors in your residence to buy you some time and alert you when you’re sleeping to get out,” said Kennedy.
Inspectors were on scene late Monday morning. They have not yet determined a cause.
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