News

South Surrey house fire kills one

One woman is dead and two people are lucky to be alive after a house fire Thursday night in South Surrey.

Firefighters were dispatched around 9:30 p.m. Jan. 20 after a passing motorist reported a blaze at 3018 184 St.

"We arrived and the second storey of the house on one side was heavily involved in flames," said deputy fire Chief Jon Caviglia, referring to the older home's north side. "It was going long enough to get well-established enough to burn through the roof."

When the crew arrived, two adults were seen exiting the home's basement. They told fire crews there may be someone upstairs, Caviglia said, "which there was."

Caviglia did not know if the victim was asleep when the fire started, or of any other reason why she wasn't able to escape.

"There was a way out for her, so I don't know what happened. She had a stairway out, she had doors out," he said.

The victim, identified Monday as 48-year-old Kelly Marie Axelson, was found in an upstairs room, he said.

One woman who arrived at the scene around noon Friday said she was shocked to learn the fire had claimed a life.

"A woman died? Oh no," she said, identifying herself only as Tammy and as a resident of the older two-storey home. "This is really sad."

Tammy said she was one of five or six people who called the house home. Her room, which she began renting last year, was on the upper storey's south corner. The landlady and her husband slept at the north corner, she said, noting the house was also home to eight cats.

Surrey RCMP Const. Stephane Vinois speaks with a resident of a burned-out home Friday.

Tracy Holmes photo

Tammy said she and her boyfriend left the house earlier Thursday night to watch a movie at a friend's house. They were planning to return for the night, she said but were alerted to the fire around 10:30 p.m.

"We didn't know anything except the house was on fire," she said.

A man who arrived with Tammy said: "My best friend just died last night.

"I couldn't believe someone passed away with someone in the house, when someone else was in there," he said.

Caviglia said firefighters from at least three halls responded to the scene. Extra manpower was dispatched due to the fact there are no fire hydrants close by, however lack of water was not an issue in fighting the blaze, he said.

"There was no issues with the water. It wasn't a factor at all. We never ran out," Caviglia said.

Surrey RCMP Cpl. Drew Grainger said Monday cause of the fire has yet to be determined. It does not appear suspicious, he said.

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