Lorette family escapes fire that destroyed home

A family of four, along with two friends and several pets, escaped an electrical fire that destroyed their home and sparked several explosions last night in Lorette, Man., southeast of Winnipeg.

Electrical blaze in garage set off gas tank explosions, say fire officials

The charred remains of a house in Lorette, Man., that was badly damaged by fire on Saturday evening. Fire officials say the house is a complete loss. (Pierre Verriere/Radio-Canada)

A family of four, along with two friends and several pets, escaped an electrical fire that destroyed their home and sparked several explosions last night in Lorette, Man., southeast of Winnipeg.

The blaze started just after 7 p.m. Saturday, with flames and smoke visible kilometres away.

Local fire officials said a family of four and two friends of the children left the house without injury.

Colleen Ikeda said she and her family, along with the two friends, were inside the home when the blaze started.

Ikeda said the most important thing was that everyone — including the family's dogs and cat — got out safely.

"I just noticed the fire at the front door there as I was in the kitchen," she said Sunday.

"We scrambled to get the kids out from the basement and get the dogs out, and we all got out the back sliding doors."

Peter Skjaerlund, the fire chief for the Rural Municipality of Taché, said the electrical fire started in the garage and set off several blasts.

"There were vehicles stored in the garage," he said. "There was a boat with a little outboard boat motor, so there was gas in the gas tank there, and in the quad, it had a gas tank. So those were the explosions that everybody heard."

The roofs of the garage and house were engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived, said Skjaerlund, who estimated that it took crews at least four hours to extinguish the blaze.

Skjaerlund said one of the family's pets was initially reported missing, but firefighters found the small dog several hours after the fire, alive and soaking wet under a piece of drywall.

The damage from the fire means the house will be a complete loss, Skjaerlund said.

"The house is still there but … there's structural damage that it will have to be redone," he said.