Updated: 9:20 a.m.
A house fire in a rural area near East Preston overnight has claimed two lives.
Halifax Regional Fire was called to the blaze on Salmon River Road, near Highway 107, around 11:43 p.m. after the fire was reported to RCMP by a passer-by.
Cpl. Scott Macrae says responding officers unsuccessfully tried to enter the home, which was fully-engulfed by fire, and were forced to wait until firefighters arrived.
“Fire went in because we couldn’t get in … got the lady out, they worked on her – CPR – until EHS took over, fire and police, and then they went back into the building and found the male,” said Macrae.
Next door neighbour James Brinkschulte was told he might have to evacuate his home if the fire spread, but the fire was knocked down. Instead, Brinkschulte said he watched his neighbours Bob and Carol Rafuse pulled from the burning home.
“I walked outside and saw them lay one body on the lawn and take one away in an ambulance,” he told News 95.7 from his doorstep. “One was covered up, so I knew he was gone. The other went away in an ambulance, so I figured she was alright.”
The woman was transported to Dartmouth General, but was pronounced dead on arrival, while it’s believed the other victim was dead when he was pulled from the home.
Brinkschulte said he did not know the Rafuses well, but that Bob was a retired school board employee and Carol was a retired teacher.
“They were always out puttering around, doing what homeowners do, fixing up and landscaping,” he said.
At this point, Macrae said the blaze does not look suspicious.
Division Commander Mike Blackburn says the fire was quickly knocked down. Firefighters were recalled to the scene around 7:30 a.m. Thurs. morning because of hot spots.
Fire investigators remain on scene, working to determine the cause and point of origin.
Two dead in overnight house fire
Updated: 9:20 a.m.