Blaze destroys North Kamloops home
Four loud explosions preceded a fire which gutted a North Shore home Friday night (May 20), according to witnesses.
Emergency crews were called to the home, at 136 Cedar St., at about 10:30 p.m.
Michael Butcher, 18, was inside the house with four friends. He said they were sitting around listening to music when a "random neighbour" barged through the door and told them to get out.
"The next thing we see is that room blow up," he said.
"There were a couple explosions. As soon as it hit, they were going off like fireworks — one, two, three, four."
Butcher said he believes the fire started near the barbecue. He thinks the explosions were the propane tank and a number of butane tanks stored under a balcony.
Kamloops RCMP Const. James Prieur said investigators don't suspect arson.
"Preliminary indications are not suspicious," he said.
"Everybody's out safe and sound."
Butcher said a number of animals were not so lucky, however.
He said he saw two cats "flying across the room" as the initial explosion hit, and said a room full of exotic pets — 10 lizards, three snakes and five tarantulas — couldn't be saved.
"We didn't even have time to comprehend to get anything out," he said.
"I'm not even shocked at the [damage to the] house. We're shocked that we're alive."
Police had traffic blocked off on Cedar Street following the blaze.
Kamloops Fire Rescue is investigating.