A large bang woke Kaz Gonciarz up early Saturday morning
“He kind of thought it was thunder. And then he's like 'no, no, no, something is wrong,'” said Violetta Gonciarz-Wolski.
At about 4:30 a.m. on Oct. 29, the family of five woke up to a fire at their 45 Kingsdale Crescent home — a fire that damaged three homes in the neighbourhood.
Gonciarz-Wolski said her husband, Gonciarz, looked out the window after he heard the bang and started screaming for a fire extinguisher.
“But because it happened in the back, right on the patio, (Gonciarz) couldn’t extinguish anything,” she said.
Gonciarz-Wolski said she ran upstairs to grab her phone and by the time she ran back downstairs, her house was filled with smoke.
“I told my son to grab the dogs. (My sons) ran out with just their underwear on — no shoes, no clothes on, nothing,” she said.
She called 911.
“They say yeah, they're gonna be on their way. You know, five minutes later, all the neighbors came out. A couple of neighbors also call 911 and (911 said they) were already aware…I called again, asking them where are they? Because our house is on fire and it's just gonna keep on burning,” she said.
Gonciarz-Wolski said her house was gone by the time the fire department started pouring water.
“(Emergency crews) were just kind of trying to put it out and try to save my neighbour's house as much as they could. But unfortunately, they couldn't. It's destroyed also,” she said.
Danelle Boivin, a communications advisor with the City of St. Albert said the St. Albert Fire Service responded to a multi-home structure fire early Saturday morning. Three homes were damaged with the home of origin being a complete loss.
Boivin said the call for the fire was received at 4:54 a.m. and crews were on scene at 5:03 a.m.. Boivin was unable to answer details about how many crew members responded to the fire, and how long it took for crews to put out the fire.
In an email Boivin said one resident from the home of origin was transported to hospital, but Gonciarz-Wolski said her husband, the only one in their family who was injured, was only treated by Emergency Response Crews.
“He was not taken to the hospital. Actually, he was just taken to the ambulance and just checked out in the ambulance,” she said.
Gonciarz has second degree burns on his face and chest and an injured eye. Gonciarz-Wolski said he is doing OK.
The family has been in the neighbourhood for 18 years and Gonciarz-Wolski said they were the first house to be built on that block.
“Eighteen years is a long time, right? To live in one place and have all your possessions and everything to be gone within 15 minutes it's heartbreaking,” she said.
Gonciarz-Wolski said they have been back to their home every single day since the fire, the fire inspector has also been out to look, and she is hopeful the water in the basement will be pumped out on Tuesday.
"Then the day after they're going to come in with a crane and try to get the walls that are unstable to gently remove them so we can go into the house and try to salvage whatever's in there — which probably there's nothing there,” she said.
The family is currently in a hotel and will be looking for a place to live in the coming weeks, but they have plans to rebuild their home.
“We love this neighborhood.
“I really want to let you know that our neighbours are just awesome people. They helped us so much. With support and giving us clothes and coffee and food and moral support,” she said.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.