A mother and daughter escaped a fire that destroyed a house in Parksville Saturday night.
The home, located in the 500-block of Temple Street, is gutted following the massive blaze. The smoke could be seen from kilometres away.
“I feel so sorry for them,” said Bev Belliveau, a neighbour.
Mike Larson was nearby when he saw the smoke and was the first at the home. He called 911 minutes after 9 p.m. Saturday.
“The front window blew out, the other window blew out — the other window blew out in 10 seconds, so went around the back. The windows were blowing out back there,” said Larson.
He says he was walking to the back door to see if anyone was inside when it opened and a woman stepped out.
“She just walked out and said, ‘My daughter said to get out of the house. So I’m getting out of the house,'” he recalled.
“Then I said, ‘Is your daughter still in the house?’ And she wouldn’t answer me, so when I got her away from the house because the windows were blowing out of the side, I went back in to see if her daughter was in there because she wouldn’t answer me, and I was quite panicked.
“I still feel stirred thinking about it now.”
The home was too full of fire for Larson to enter. Police arrived and they determined the daughter had also escaped safely. Firefighters arrived soon after.
“Other crews pulled hose lines to the sides and the back of the structure and knocked down all the fire on the exterior. This was total defensive fire, no crews were going to be deployed inside,” said Cpt. Eric Miller of Parksville Fire Rescue.
Neighbours were worried about the fire’s potential spread.
“I saw those flames were above those trees, and I panicked because the wind was blowing in our direction and I was worried that our home was going to blow up too,” said Belliveau.
Parksville Fire says they successfully prevented the fire’s spread and knocked it down in half an hour but didn’t have it fully out until midnight.
Fortunately, the homeowner did have fire insurance.
The investigation into the cause will happen Monday, and Parksville Fire says it will be paying close attention to a wood stove that was on the main floor.
In November, a house fire in Parksville claimed the life of a man in his 30s.