A victim of last Friday's (May 5) Boxwood Bend fire that destroyed three houses has spoken out about their experience.
Arthur Siemens and his girlfriend Kassidy were sleeping when they were awoken by the house's smoke detector.
"[There was] a light gray haze throughout the whole building," recalled Siemens. "I ran up and tried to grab the fire extinguisher from the kitchen."
"I saw some smoke coming from the basement, so I ran down there first to try and put it out."
Upon getting to the basement, Siemens discovered that there was no actual fire for him to put out, just smoke. It appeared as if the fire was burning in the installation under the walls.
"I ran up to the main floor and at that point, whenever I came back up it was almost pitch black with how much smoke there was," said Siemens. "Kass was still upstairs yelling that she couldn't see, and she couldn't find her way out."
"I ran upstairs, I could only see the bottom half of her leg and I just grabbed her and ran out while she was calling 911."
After getting out of the building safely, Siemens then ran to the side of the house where he saw a fire burning between the garage and laundry room area.
They were also met by some kids in front of his house who started to help evacuate neighbours, all of which were able to get out safely as well.
Kassidy left the scene, while Siemens stuck around to provide info to first responders. A few days later and the couple is still coming to grips with everything they lost.
"I'm lucky that we have a really good support system and a really good community where we are at," said Siemens. "I'm doing okay, Kass is really struggling still with her mental health."
"You don't really realize what everything is until there is nothing left."
One thing they are looking to recover is the three cats they own that were in the building when the fire began, who are believed to have escaped the house during the commotion.
"Our older one, he's about three years old now, his name is Beau, he's an orange back, white belly, shorthair, and it a little overweight," said Siemens.
"Then we have our two girls, which are just really small cats. There is one blond-coloured long-hair [named Peaches] and one grey tortoiseshell longhair [named Luma]."
There are currently multiple ways to help support all the families involved, with a GoFundMe organized by the Fort Falcons as well as donations to both the Red Cross and Twice But Nice.
Siemens is incredibly grateful for the amount of support they have received during such a devastating time.
"They have just been doing everything they can to support everybody," said Siemens. "Even when the fire was happening, they took us in, clothed us, made sure we were doing okay before sending us out."
"It's been incredible the amount of support they have been giving and I honestly just want to thank them for everything they have been doing."