Family’s house destroyed in blaze,
Family all set to fly to Orlando before home destroyed by fire
“There were flames and black smoke coming through the roof”
A Highland family getting ready for a dream trip to Disney World woke up to a nightmare yesterday after a fire broke out at their home.
Anthony and Louise Smith and their three children, of Conon Bridge, were all packed and ready to fly to Orlando on Thursday.
But they were woken shortly before 8.30am yesterday by the “loud bangs” of exploding gas cannisters in their garage extension.
Twenty-two firefighters spent four hours battling the flames, which have completely destroyed the garage and left the house “inhabitable” due to “extensive smoke damage.”
It is understood that another three local children had been staying overnight as part of a sleepover at the two-storey home in the village’s Beinn View.
All occupants managed to escape the blaze unhurt.
Mr and Mrs Smith were too upset to speak following the event yesterday but thanked the emergency services for their efforts to contain the fire to their garage.
Neighbour and Dingwall and Seaforth councillor Alister Mackinnon said he consoled the couple yesterday morning, adding: “I was up and heard the loud bangs and looked out the window and saw the fire engines coming. The noise was coming from the gas canisters as they started exploding.
“The explosions prevented the firemen getting to the source of the fire. The safety of the fire officers is always of paramount importance. Their efficiency was absolutely magnificent and they dealt with it in a very professional manner.
“There were flames coming through the roof and a lot of black smoke was coming out. There is extensive smoke damage inside the house. It’s inhabitable. They had all of their belongings packed away for going on holiday to Orlando on Thursday.
“Mercifully, they all managed to get out of the house. If it had happened during the night I hate to think what might have happened.”
The cause of the fire has not been confirmed but Mr Mackinnon was told by Mr Smith that it may have been an electrical fault in a deep freezer cable.
A motor home parked in the family’s driveway also appeared to have been badly damaged from the heat of the flames.
Incident commander Alex McKinley, an oncall duty officer, praised his crew for “working tirelessly” to contain the “well-developed” fire to the garage area.
He said: “The family woke up to the fire and some camping canisters popping in the garage. They got out and called 999. They were all accounted for and no one was hurt. The cause of the fire is unknown.”
A total of 22 firefighters – six wearing breathing ap- paratus – used two main jets and two house reel jets to extinguish the flames.
Three fire appliances – two from Dingwall and one from Beauly – were joined by a height appliance from Inverness.
The garage was left completely blackened following the blaze and was still smouldering at about 12.30pm yesterday.
Police were also at the scene and spoke with the Mr and Mrs Smith and their neighbours.
HOUSE BLAZE: The family were woken by the sound of exploding gas cannisters in their garage extension