A McLeese Lake man is in hospital in Vancouver with very significant burns to his body after his one-storey home on Lagerquist Road was completely destroyed by fire Tuesday evening, said Corp. Gregg Strom of the Williams Lake RCMP.
Mike Dickson, one of five local men who helped fight the fire, said the 50-something-old man managed to break a window and jump out of his burning house. He was the only person in the home at the time of the fire.
“He was in shock and went and sat in that chair,” Dickson said Wednesday morning pointing to a chair situated outside the tire shop located next door.
Dickson and Greg Foster, who along with McLeese Lake residents Ian Harris, Al Hamm and Robert Hamm make up the newly-formed McLeese Lake volunteer fire society.
On Wednesday morning, Dickson and Foster were monitoring the smouldering remains of the home and said the fire started around 11 p.m. Tuesday.
Dickson lives nearby and at first heard a loud bang, he said.
His four dogs began barking and when he looked outside, he saw flames throughout the one-storey house.
He contacted the fire society members, they marshalled up a pumper fire truck and arrived on scene to fight the blaze.
Dickson went into the house with fire extinguishers, but all they did was slow the fire down for 30 seconds, he said.
He went back in for a moment and grabbed keys for the four vehicles parked outside so he could move them.
“I saw his wallet there and grabbed that too,” Dickson said.
Their firefighting efforts did save the tire shop, although several of the windows were cracked from the intense heat of the blaze.
“Mike aimed a hose at the roof to keep it cool,” Foster said.
Residents in McLeese Lake are presently without fire protection, but Foster said their society is the “initial attack team.”
“We will be a classified as a pirate volunteer department for the next couple of years until we can show that at least the we have a hall set up,” Foster said. “Gibraltar Mines donated some money for us to get some training.”
The community has two pumper trucks, one of which was purchased solely by someone in the community with his own money, Dickson said.
One of the neat things in McLeese Lake is the neighbourhood feeling, Foster added.
“It’s like telephone tag. Somebody gets on the phone and we all get there with what we have to get there with.”
As they continued to inspect the fire damage, both men said the man injured in the fire and his brother, who lives above the tire shop, moved to McLeese Lake last January.
“They were hoping to expand the business to include antiques and other things,” Foster said.