Smoke billows from a house in the 1700-block of 16 Avenue in Surrey’s Ocean Park neighbourhood Friday (May 21). The home’s sole occupant, a man who had reportedly been sleeping, escaped thanks to the intervention of a passerby. (Mari Anne Hussen photo)

Smoke billows from a house in the 1700-block of 16 Avenue in Surrey’s Ocean Park neighbourhood Friday (May 21). The home’s sole occupant, a man who had reportedly been sleeping, escaped thanks to the intervention of a passerby. (Mari Anne Hussen photo)

Alert passerby helps man escape South Surrey house fire

Driver pulled over when she saw smoke and alerted home’s sleeping occupant

The sole occupant of a South Surrey house escaped a serious fire unharmed Friday morning (May 21) – thanks to the alertness of a passing driver.

Surrey Fire Service Battalion Chief Steve Wyatt said Friday the man was evidently asleep inside the single-storey wood frame house in the 12700-block of 16 Avenue in Ocean Park when fire broke out sometime after 10 a.m.

“He was woken up by a woman passerby who was driving on 16 Avenue and saw smoke billowing out of the house,” he said.

“She pulled over and went to the front door, rang the bell and was banging on the door,” he added.

“Then she went to a side window and saw the man through the glass – and had helped him out through the window by the time the RCMP arrived.”

“He was checked out for smoke inhalation at Peace Arch Hospital and released,” he said.

Wyatt said Surrey Fire Service crews responded to an initial call at 10:33 a.m. and arrived to find the building “fully involved on the back side of the house.”

The fire was brought under control and extinguished before noon, he said.

“There’s significant damage to the house and we’re investigating the cause,” he added.

Much credit must go the swift response of the unidentified woman who was driving by, he said.

“She didn’t make much of it – she said it was just something you do,” he noted.

“But it’s a big deal.”

Wyatt said that, despite the property damage, he looks at the incident as having “a good outcome.”

“I feel bad for the folks losing their possessions, but nobody was injured, and stuff can be replaced,” he said.

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