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Update: Merrifield Road house fire cause identified

Firefighters were on site quickly as a home on Merrifield Road exploded into flames Monday; (below) standing beside KDF platoon captain Dale Calhoun one of the renters looks on as the home burns.  - Jennifer Smith
Firefighters were on site quickly as a home on Merrifield Road exploded into flames Monday; (below) standing beside KDF platoon captain Dale Calhoun one of the renters looks on as the home burns.
— image credit: Jennifer Smith

The smoke alarms were not working in the Merrifield Road house in Rutland destroyed by a fire on Monday, according to a fire investigation report.

The fire has been blamed on smoking material that ignited a fire, causing extensive damage.

The owner of the home does have insurance. One male person who escaped the fire suffered burns to his hands and wrist area.

The fire department said it's important for all home residents to check their smoke detectors on a regular basis.

Dustin Colledge was driving home from the gym just before noon on Monday when he saw a big cloud of smoke, followed by a group of five individuals, and their two dogs, running from the home.

"I stopped the car and wanted to know if everybody was okay. Everybody looked like they were okay, so I called 9-1-1," he said.

Standing by the side of the street, he heard three or four explosions, which he described as mild popping sounds as opposed to major explosions.

"From what I saw, it looked like it started near the back balcony or underneath, near the garage…There was a propane tank right next to the fire so, in all likelihood the explosion was the propane tank," he said.

The Kelowna Fire Department could not confirm whether propane was involved, but noted the explosions immediate neighbours were reporting—some saying as many as six or eight "booms" —apparently came from within the building.

renter"The people that were inside there, one of them was asleep on the couch and said that he heard a couple of bangs inside the house and it sounded like it was coming from the furnace room," said Dale Calhoun, KFD platoon captain.

The hot day made fighting the fire quickly essential as the house is surrounded by trees, with overhead power lines in close proximity. The fire department was able to confine the incident to the single property.

One person was treated for minor burns to his hands and feet by ambulance personnel and taken to Kelowna General Hospital.

The house is a rental with several people living in it, according to neighbour Rose Buck.

"You could hear the crackling and then you would hear 'boom' and then 'boom'," she said.

Firefighters are still on site mopping up the fire. Some three fire engines, one rescue vehicle, one command unit with 15 fire personnel, RCMP, Fortis Gas and Electrica,l and the BC Ambulance Service were used to fight the fire.

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