The inferno, which destroyed four homes and damaged several others, is believed to have broken out around 6:30 p.m. in a garage near 192a Street and 73 Avenue.
No one was hurt, but the occupants of the four destroyed properties have been left homeless, while others in the neighbourhood have also been displaced because power has been cut in the neighbourhood.
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The incident has left the community reeling.
“I heard the explosions first,” neighbour Magnus Hansson told Global News, adding he saw thick black smoke and towering flames shortly afterward.
“It was very scary. It’s very nerve-wracking, just the destruction of those houses and just the neighbours across the street, their houses are melted. So I think I’m very lucky because the wind was going this way, away from our house.”
Lisa Kelly, who also lives nearby, said the speed with which the fire spread was difficult to believe.
She said neighbours quickly sprang into action to do what they could.
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“All of a sudden fire was just going rampant, they started knocking on doors trying to get people out — the fire just went so quickly, I would say eight minutes it was engulfed in five or six homes,” she said.
“I was watching the firefighters give CPR to a cat to revive a cat. It was just so surreal; it was sad.”
Firefighters said the rescued cat was going to be OK, and that no pets remained unaccounted for.
Jennifer Bailey, who lives a block away, said she could see plumes of smoke rising from the scene, and arrived in time to see the fire jump from the first house to a second.
“I started to panic — these are the people we see every day in our nieghourhood, these are the people who walk their dogs past our house every day. It’s devastating,” she said.
“It was getting congested, emergency was arriving, it was chaos. There was people everywhere. There was people coming down just to look and the fire trucks were trying to get in, it was chaotic.”
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Surrey Deputy Fire Chief Shelley Morris said the hot, dry weather and the close proximity to the homes likely played a role in how quickly the flames spread.
The first firefighters to arrive on scene could already see significant smoke and flames, and upgraded the call to a three-alarm fire, she added.
In all, 33 firefighters and 10 engines were deployed, and were able to keep the flames from spreading.
Morris said investigators remained on scene Thursday probing the fire’s origin, but said it could take some time to sift through the significant amount of rubble.
“There’s a lot of different witness accounts that we’re all taking into account as we do our investigation, but we don’t know the cause,” she said.
“If there was working smoke alarms that would be the reasons they got out alive. And this is a really good, cohesive neighbourhood and they all look out for each other.”
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The tight-knit quality of the neighbourhood was echoed by several people who spoke with Global News Thursday, describing how the the residents of the four homes were particularly close, and worked together to put up Halloween and other holiday decorations.
“Out of all the houses in this neighbourhood, these are the homes that always put in a big effort at Christmas and hang Christmas lights, they all work together to make it a really neat and beautiful neighbourhood, and unfortunately its gone, just like that,” Kelly said.
“Nobody could believe it. You just don’t think it could happen in your neighbourhood.”
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