CHARLES TWEED/BRANDON SUN
Officials say fire broke out at this Rossburn residence early Saturday, killing an elderly couple. An electric heater is believed to be the cause of the blaze.
There are as many questions as there are answers surrounding a fire that killed an elderly couple in Rossburn early Saturday morning.
A home in Rossburn that caught on fire early Saturday morning did not have working fire alarms, an official says. An elderly man and woman died in the blaze. (CHARLES TWEED/BRANDON SUN)
Shortly after 3 a.m, the Rossburn Fire Department and emergency services were called to a fire at a single-storey, detached home on Main Street.
"When we got to the home smoke was coming out of the doors and from the eaves a little bit," Rossburn fire Chief Kelly Slon said. "It was the lady that lived in the home that called it in and we expected him and her to be standing outside when we got here, but there was nobody."
With smoke gushing from the home, Slon and members of his crew donned self contained breathing apparatuses, entered the home and began searching for the couple.
Minutes into their search, they located 70-year-old Ed Collins, the owner of the home, on the floor near the fire. Firefighters carried Collins out of the home where ambulance attendants tried to resuscitate him.
Shortly after, 72-year-old Marie Allen was located lying in bed with the cordless phone still in her hand.
Slon believes the couple tried to fight the fire before the smoke overtook them.
"The kitchen sink tap was running full bore," Slon said, an indication that they tried to put the fire out themselves.
The fire is believed to be caused by an electric heater that was used to heat a small addition to the back of the home, Slon said, with the provincial Office of the Fire Commissioner estimating the damage to be $150,000.
The home was not equipped with working fire alarms, according to Slon, who was still questioning why the couple didn’t just evacuate the residence.
"We don’t understand why she phoned and didn’t get out of the house," Slon said. "It just doesn’t make sense. You can’t replace lives, but you can replace homes."
Just hours after the fire, a card and flowers were left outside the home. Slon said the deaths will be hard on the community of approximately 550 people.
"It’s hard on us being a small department," the fire chief said. "It affects us and it affects the community. You never want to see something like this happen in any community."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 17, 2012