CHESTERMERE – It only took minutes for fire to destroy a two-storey home southeast of Chestermere on the morning of Oct. 14.
The home, which was located on an acreage just southeast of Chestermere on Range Road 275, caught fire sometime between 4 and 4:30 a.m.
Rocky View County Fire Service (RVCFS) crews responded to the blaze at 4:27 a.m. and upon arrival, began an immediate fire attack. However, because the fire was so involved, crews were pushed back by the extreme conditions and were not able to make entry to the house at any point.
One neighbor, who wished to not be named, said that her young son woke her up because he could hear strange noises.
“He woke me up because he was scared,” she said. “When I looked outside there was just this wall of flame at the back of the house going straight up. It went higher than the house.”
She said that she called 911, but a call had already been sent in, so she could just watch helplessly as the flames tore apart the nearby home.
Four members of the five-person family escaped the home, leaving one child was unaccounted for. It was later learned that 10-year-old Jordan Keeler was the sole victim of the fire.
His aunt, uncle, cousin and sister were able to escape, and were treated for smoke inhalation in hospital. Keeler was a Grade 5 student at Our Lady of Wisdom School in Chestermere.
Fire crews remained on the scene for the remainder of the day to extinguish any and all hot spots. The cause and damage estimates remain under investigation. Both the RVCFS and RCMP were both continuing to conduct their investigations at press time.
Six RVCFS apparatus and 19 fire fighters responded to the fire, with members of both the Strathmore and Chestermere RCMP responding.
As of Monday, the two children were still in hospital being treated for smoke inhalation, and will be for a few weeks. The two adults are currently staying at Ronald McDonald House.
“Our hearts and minds go out to the family,” said Mayor Patricia Matthews during Monday’s council meeting. “To lose your home is startling and tragic enough, but to lose a member of your family in such an incident is life-changing.
“They certainly have our sympathy and whatever support we can give them. We wish a speedy recovery to those in hospital at this time, and we will do everything we possibly can to help them through their struggles.”
Chestermere’s Christmas with Dignity group is setting up trust fund for the family. Anyone who wishes to support the family can do so by calling Chestermere Community Services at 403-207-7060.