The Ponoka Fire Department and RCMP are investigating a fire on 39th Street in Ponoka north of 52nd Avenue that resulted in two residences being destroyed.
RCMP received a report of a house explosion at 5 p.m. Nov. 28. Police, along with EMS, and fire personel arrived on scene and observed one residence engulfed in flames. As a result of the initial house fire, a neighboring residence also caught fire.
Fortunately, the residents of both houses on 39th Street, a family with three or four teenage children and a neighbouring couple, were not inside at the time of the explosion and resulting fires.
There were no injuries, although the two families lost all their possessions, said RCMP Const. Dave O’Connell.
“They lost everything, so they are pretty upset. It’s definitely upsetting for everyone, considering the time of year. It’s a shock for everybody that it happened,” he added.
O’Connell believes the explosion happened in the garage, and said natural gas has not yet been ruled out as a possible cause.
“Fire investigators were there Monday and started their investigation,” said O’Connell. “I hope to see a report within a week but they haven’t made any conclusions yet.”
RCMP say the blast was reported after neighbours were startled by a “big bang” and come out to see the house’s garage in pieces.
According to witnesses, “bits and pieces of the garage were everywhere,” said O’Connell.
By the time police, ambulance workers and firefighters arrived, the residence was engulfed.
“We haven’t got anything conclusive on the investigation at this time,” said Ponoka Fire Chief Ted Dillon Nov. 30. “Insurance investigators are still there. The investigation is still ongoing.”
And as a result of this fire, the house on the north side also went up in flames. O’Connell said firefighters, who spent more than two hours trying to douse the blazes, were able to prevent the fire from spreading to the house on the south side.
Any area residents who want to assist the families can drop off donations of adult and teenage clothing and household items at Ponoka RCMP Victim Services, located at the RCMP detachment.
RCMP and fire officials are asking anyone with information, or who saw the explosion, to call 403-783-4472 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
-with files from the Red Deer Advocate