Bystander alerted Saanich residents that their house was on fire

Fire crews extinguished blaze in 500-block of Walter Avenue

Emergency crews extinguished a blaze in the 500-block of Walter Avenue Thursday afternoon.

The fire started around 11:50 p.m. Two people were in the home but were able to escape the fire, partly thanks to bystander Cindy Ihlen, who was walking by the home with her son when she saw smoke rising from the house.

She saw a man on the phone with 9-1-1 dispatchers and asked if he had checked for anyone inside the home. When he said ‘no,’ Ihlen took matters into her own hands.

“I ran down and they have a big knocker so I started knocking on the door…I started yelling, ‘there’s a fire, get out, get out!’” she recalled. “My knees are still shaking.”

READ ALSO: No one injured in Saanich townhouse fire

Two men left the home, seemingly unaware that the structure was on fire, Ihlen said.

“I didn’t think it was our house,” said homeowner Rick Hyland. “I thought it was the neighbours.”

Shortly after they evacuated, the fire grew huge, Ihlen said, with flames burning holes in the ceiling and pushing their way out of the side of the home.

“It was absolutely shocking how fast it went up from there.”

The Saanich Fire Department is asking people to avoid the area as they clear the scene. It’s unclear if there were any injuries at this time.


 

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Emergency crews are working to extinguish a fire in the 500-block of Walter Avenue. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

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