A homeowner burned in a North Shore fire said Wednesday he is thankful his family was not home after explosions and a fire at his residence.
While RCMP said in a news release that Ray Brown’s wife and one of his children were home during the fire, Brown said he was the only person at his house in the afternoon.
“I was in my driveway hooking up a fifth-wheel (trailer),” he said in an interview.
“I got underneath to put bolts through and heard a bang. I turned around and smoke was coming from the garage.”
Brown said he ran to the workshop beside his house with a garden hose in an attempt to stop any fire.
When he pulled back a tarp on the workshop, another explosion happened “and I got tossed.”
Brown was taken to hospital with first- and second-degree burns, including to his arm and head.
Officials on the scene with Kamloops Fire & Rescue said the explosions and thick smoke were likely the result of storage of large propane tanks. In fact, Brown said the largest was barbecue-size.
He speculates explosions came from the large amount of automotive chemicals he kept in the building, including motor oils, five gallons of Varsol and automotive paint.
“I’m still trying to figure it out too.”
As to the cause, Brown said he suspects oily rags piled up may have caught fire, lighting petroleum products in the workshop.
A roofer by trade, Brown said his work tools were in a separate garage on his property. His home is insured.
The two children’s pitbull, Caesar, was killed in the fire, likely from smoke inhalation. Brown called him a “suck” who would flee from cats and said his children are heartbroken over the loss.