Four people killed in two rural fires


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Two house fires that took place hours apart in rural Manitoba have claimed the lives of four people, including a couple in their 60s.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/12/2020 (650 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Two house fires that took place hours apart in rural Manitoba have claimed the lives of four people, including a couple in their 60s.

The couple died after flames tore through their home in Sanford around 11 p.m. Wednesday. Hours later, around 4:15 a.m., two people died in a house fire in the city of Morden.

On Thursday, the Sanford couple, Allan and Valerie Boyd, both 65, were remembered as “loving and devoted parents.”

Allan and Valerie Boyd died after fire tore through their home in Sanford Wednesday night. John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

The Boyds had lived in Sanford for many decades, their daughter, Steph Curtis, said Thursday.

Wednesday night, an off-duty firefighter noticed smoke billowing in the sky on the eastern end of town, said RM of MacDonald Fire Chief Mike Siemens.

The firefighter discovered the smoke coming from a house on River Crescent, and he alerted first responders.

Siemens said once firefighters and trucks were on the scene, they tried to extinguish the fire from inside the building before the second floor collapsed. After they had put it out, they discovered the bodies.

Siemens said he and his volunteer crew were at the scene for several hours.

“My firefighters, at least half of the firefighters, knew the couple. So that is tough,” said Siemens.

RCMP and the Office of the Fire Commissioner were called in to investigate. The cause of the fire has not been released.

“They were great people, great neighbours,” said Ryan Sotheran, a next-door neighbour of the couple whose family had to temporarily leave their house Wednesday night as a safety precaution.

Sotheran said he remembers them as a quiet, fun-loving couple who enjoyed sitting on their deck.

Allan had recently retired after working in the public works department in the RM of MacDonald, said Sanford resident Trevor Richardson, a former president of the Sanford Recreation Centre.

Richardson said “Al” was a bubbly “community guy” who loved hunting and fishing and was always ready to crack a joke. Allan had volunteered coaching hockey and preparing the ice at the centre when his children were growing up, said Richardson.

“He’s just a pillar of the community that’s going to be sadly missed,” he said.

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