A house fire killed an elderly couple in the western Manitoba community of Rossburn early Saturday morning.
Shortly after 3 a.m., the Rossburn Fire Department and emergency services were called to battle a blaze inside a single-storey home in the community, located about 100 kilometres northwest of Brandon.
"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."
Firefighters went inside and within minutes found Ed Collins, 70, the owner of the home, on the floor. Shortly after, Marie Allen, 72, 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 they tried to put the fire out themselves.
"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."
The cause of the fire is believed to be an electric heater used in a small addition at the rear of the home, Slon said.
Damage is estimated at $150,000.
The home was not equipped with working fire alarms, Slon said.