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Victoria house fire claims third life

VICTORIA (NEWS1130) – A third person has now died from a fire that ripped through a Victoria heritage house which a number of young people were renting.

The fire erupted during a house party.

“It was pretty much a horror scene,” says Fire Battalion Chief Paul Kowalyk.

He says there had been 30 to 40 people in the house, who were panicking as the fire quickly spread from a couch on the porch to the siding.

“When our crews rolled up, the house was fully involved, plus two cars were on fire. Flames were licking onto a secondary house. There were all these partygoers, wrapped up in blankets, screaming that their friends were inside.”

He says it didn’t take long for the three-storey heritage house to be consumed by the flames.

“The fire went up the stairwell. These poor kids were dead before we got there. They didn’t have a chance to get out.”

The two female victims, who were upstairs, died of smoke inhalation. The male victim, who was on the front porch, died of burns.  They were all in their early twenties.

Neighbours say the heritage house was split into suites used by college-aged renters.