Skip to content

Family safe after semi smashes through Kelowna home

Samer Shehadeh one-year-old son and mother-in-law had to be rescued from the home

Samer Shehadeh was at work when he received a phone call that there was something wrong at his home.

His mother-in-law was in a panic, barely getting out words as she tried to explain that there was smoke and that she and the baby were trapped.

She had been upstairs putting her one-year-old grandson down for a nap when the whole house shook.

“I called 911 and they told me a semi-truck hit my house and I went into panic mode,” Shehadeh said. “How is my son, how is my mother-in-law?”

He rushed home to find his mother-in-law and son trapped on the balcony and the cab of the semi buried in the front of his townhouse.

Shehadeh’s mother also hurried to the scene, however, when she saw the semi into the home she collapsed and had to be taken to hospital.

“She wasn’t part of this accident, but obviously the emotional impact,” he said.

Shehadeh’s wife was also not at home at the time, but once she heard the news, left to be with her family after her husband explained what happened.

“Everyone is OK, my youngest is OK, he is one year old, and his birthday was yesterday,” added Shehadeh.

The couple’s other two sons were at school.

Deputy fire chief Dwight Seymour said reports came in just before 10:30 a.m. Tuesday (April 11) that a vehicle had driven into a structure at the corner of Gordon Drive and Cameron Avenue.

Once on scene, firefighters discovered the driver was trapped in the vehicle. Rescue crews were able to safely extract the driver from the vehicle. He was taken to hospital with undetermined injuries.

Crews then jumped into action to rescue Shehadeh’s mother-in-law and his son from the second-floor balcony.

“We put a ladder up to get them down the back balcony and they were the only two inside….no injuries at all,” said Seymour.

Shehadeh and his family were put in the care of Emergency Social Services, as the structural integrity of the home is not known, and neighbours from the townhouse next door were also evacuated.

According to a witness named Patrica, who was driving next to the semi north on Gordon Drive, it drifted into her lane and as she slowed down the truck travelled through the intersection and crashed into the home.

“I heard the impact, I saw the smoke and at that time there was a construction team calling 911. He (the driver) speak to us so we knew he was okay. He wanted to get out, so we kept him calm until paramedics arrived.”

This isn’t the first time there have been vehicle incidents at the corner of Cameron and Gordon.

Collisions that Shehadeh took to social media about, asking people to slow down.

“This is wild, just a couple of days ago I was talking to my family and I said I hope no one hits our house on this busy corner and then it happens,” he said.

Shehadeh isn’t sure when his family will be able to return home, but for now, he is glad everyone is safe, including the driver of the truck.

READ MORE: Fire engulfs building near Joe Rich Community Hall