A North Shore man escaped to safety after explosions rocked his home and caused a destructive fire early Tuesday afternoon.
Assistant fire chief Dave McMahon said the resident of the Alexander Avenue home was working with oily rags at the time. Firefighters don't know the source of ignition.
A friend on scene said the resident is Ray Brown, who was taken to hospital with suspected burns to his arm, forehead and back of his head.
Emergency officials said he was working at his home cleaning car parts. He heard the first bang and saw smoke.
Two other residents of the duplex in the 300-block of Alexander Drive near McDonald Park ran out and were uninjured.
Two children and the man's wife were not at home during the fire. A dog, said by neighbours to be a pitbull, was killed.
Smoke could be seen from many parts of Kamloops and created a haze in the afternoon. Three Kamloops Fire Rescue engines responded. A live hydro line fell on the street.
Explosions, visible flame and the large amount of smoke were due to the presence of propane tanks and automotive cleaning fluid in the garage, McMahon said.
"With smoke and heat, there will be a significant amount of damage to the house," McMahon told reporters. "The farthest end is totalled."
Neigbours reported hearing several loud explosions shortly before 1 p.m.
"I heard a bang," said Brian Bourns, who lives on nearby Cherry Avenue.
"I thought maybe it was the mine up there. I looked over and saw smoke and heard a couple more bangs."
Kamloops lawyer Sheldon Tate was working inside his home when he heard the first blast.
"I heard a noise that sounded like someone crashing into my house."
Tate eventually went to the rear of his home, after hearing two more explosions.
"The house shook again. I opened the door and looked across the way. Flames looked 60 feet high. The heat was intense."
The fire carried through an attached attic, spreading into the home. McMahon said crews were pushing back smoke and heat from the home to the attached garage in an effort to limit damage.
Emergency Social Services was dispatched to help the families, who cannot return to the damaged house.