Two Dallas families face a homeless long weekend after one fire destroyed both their houses.
The blaze was reported around 3:45 p.m. at 6234 Hillview Dr. Firefighters arrived to find flames rising quickly from the roof of one home. Fanned by a strong wind, the fire quickly spread to the neighbour's house and engulfed it.
Assistant fire chief Mike Adams said the wind was a factor in the spread of the blaze from one house to the next. The cause of the fire is unknown.
Smoke from the fire could be seen from several blocks away. Neighbours gathered on nearby front lawns and watched as sweat-soaked firefighters worked to keep the flames contained to just two houses.
Some watching the fire quickly directed the media to a nearby fire hydrant, which has been inoperable and covered by a City of Kamloops bag since April. It sat unused as fire hoses snaked past, hooked to a different fire hydrant further down the street.
Adams said the fire department was aware of the out-of-service hydrant. The crews ran hoses from two other distant hydrants, but Adams said the extra distance did not slow the department's response.
Kevin Schuurman owns the house where the fire started. He was at work at the time, and returned after he was called by a neighbour. He has no idea what might have started the fire. His daughter and a friend were home at the time and smelled smoke. They rushed out as flames burst through the roof.
Schuurman worried for the safety of the family's two pet cats, which were inside when the fire broke out.
"We may have lost them," he said.
Nearby, Yvette Gallant, the owner of the second house, watched as her house burned. She, too, was at work when she found out about the fire.
Both families said their properties were insured, and neither felt they had lost anything that could not be replaced.
Regardless, both agreed it will be a different kind of long weekend than anticipated. Schuurman said he has a trailer he will stay in, while Gallant said she has family in town.
"It's a terrible shock," said Gallant.