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Backyard barbecue suspected of causing fire that guts house

Blaze is believed to have been started by a barbecue positioned too close to a home in Northern Alberta town.

BONNYVILLE – While some of a two-story house remains intact, much of a Bonnyville residence has been left scorched, with sunshine gleaming through the ruins of a house that is missing most of its roof.  

Fire crews from Station 5 Bonnyville responded to a structure fire in the area of 38 St. and 42 Ave. at 6 p.m. on Aug. 15.

When firefighters arrived, a large volume of smoke and flames were coming from the rear of the house and the second-floor roof, Regional Fire Chief Dan Heney told Lakeland Today in a statement. 

The heat from the fire was so intense that a propane tank could be heard venting from a pressure relief valve in the backyard, stated Heney. This prevented the tank from rupturing. 

“Despite the large amount of fire, crews were able to quickly knock down the second-floor fire which allowed them to gain access to the interior of the structure,” he explained. 

Crews made the decision to pull down the ceilings of the main floor to fight the fire that had spread to the attic space, which they were successful in extinguishing. 

“Despite being able to quickly extinguish the fires, damage to the building was extensive,” Heney noted. 

Following the completion of an initial investigation, the fire chief says the fire appeared to have been started by a barbecue that was positioned too close to the home.  

“The barbecue ignited the vinyl siding, which spread quickly up the back wall and into the soffit venting. This allowed flames rapid access to the attic spaces of the main and second floor.” 

He added, “A quick-thinking neighbour who called 911 and decisive actions by the Station 5 crews are to credit for the ability to stop the fire before it spread to surrounding homes and completely destroying the initial home.” 

Jazmin Tremblay

About the Author: Jazmin Tremblay

Jazmin completed a minor in journalism at Hanze University in the Netherlands and completed her Communication Studies degree from MacEwan University with a major in journalism.
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