A woman was pulled from her burning home in Riva Ridge Mobile Home Park Wednesday morning thanks to a pair of men who were passing by.
Shane Crant said he was driving north from Oliver on Highway 97 with co-worker Michael Mulligan when they saw a thick plume of black smoke prompting them to turn into the mobile home park where it was coming from.
The home was already engulfed in flames when Crant and Mulligan arrived. Worried that someone was inside, the pair started banging on the doors.
“She screamed help. After a while, we must have got her up. She came to the window screaming that she can’t get out. I then came to the window and smashed the whole window and tried to pull her out and I couldn’t,” said Crant, who added he had a shoulder surgery a few months ago which kept him from having the strength to get her out of the burning house.
Mulligan said the flames and smoke became too much for both of them to do anything other than scream for help.
The Penticton fire department arrived on scene shortly after and the two men pointed out where the woman was trapped inside. Firefighters quickly doused the area, allowing them to get inside and pull her out.
Deputy fire chief Chris Forster lauded the men for providing the assistance.
“Certainly if we arrive with no information we have to go in and do a complete search of the entire property and we wouldn’t necessarily know where to start. In this case we had two bystanders that had located the occupant and were able to tell crews immediately where she was to assist in a quick rescue,” said Forster.
The woman was conscious when firefighters brought her to safety and was transferred to the Penticton Regional Hospital.
A neighbour in the adjacent house, who also lost her home when the fire jumped, said she had heard a loud bang then could smell the smoke billowing into her window from next door.
Having rescued the woman from the burning residence, firefighters began their attack on the blaze. Cedar trees between the houses caught fire, spreading the flames to the neighbouring house. Forster said the construction of the mobile homes also made it difficult to keep it contained.
“Unfortunately, most of these homes have exterior siding that is very flammable, especially vinyl siding, which does go up quite quickly as compared to other residential housing.”
Crant said he is counting his blessings that the woman was taken out alive because at the time he was unsure if they would get to her in time. It is believed she is being treated in hospital with severe burns. One firefighter also was being treated for heat exhaustion.
Forster said the fire remains under investigation.
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