Surrey fire destroys former home of famous magician Leon Mandrake
Witness said he saw 10 to 15 people with dogs, bags running out of burning house
A Surrey, B.C. home that was destroyed by fire was the former home of Leon Mandrake or 'Mandrake the Magician,' a local performer known around the world for his magic, illusions and stunts.
Mandrake owned the house on the corner of Grosvenor Road and Kindersley Drive before his death in 1993.
Surrey city council considered giving heritage status to the old home — an idea first brought before council in 2008, according to city documents.
The home was still being considered for heritage status as recently as May 2015.
Neighbours awoke to see raging flames and smoke early Sunday morning as the fire spewed ash that could be seen for kilometres.
One witness said the building was slated for demolition and was thought to be empty.
Neighbour Joshua Desmarais charged outside to see if anybody was in the house.
"All I saw was people with dogs and bags piling out of the house... there must have been ten or 15 people. Five or six big dogs and backpacks and duffle bags and suitcases," said Desmarais.
He saw one man in a red shirt take off running down the street after a woman told him there was propane in the house.
"It was huge. There must have been 25-foot flames above the roof of the house. It was intense," he said.
"It was scary."
With files from Bal Brach