'She’s definitely a hero': Saanich woman helps sleeping neighbours escape house fire

Two people and their dog are safe after a fire destroyed their home Wednesday morning in Saanich, B.C.

A neighbour is being credited with alerting the homeowners to the fire. The homeowners are calling her a hero.

Wendy Hucul and her husband woke up at 6:30 a.m. to the smell of smoke and realized the house across the street was on fire.

“I could see the fire in the garage and it just popped,” said Hucul.

She immediately call 911. Knowing that her neighbours’ bedroom shares a wall with the carport that was engulfed in flames, she jumped into action.

“I ran full speed across the street, screaming and yelling at them,” said Hucul. “It took a number of screams to wake them up.”

Rhys Murphy was the man sleeping inside the house.

“We heard someone yelling ‘our neighbours’ house is on fire’ and my first thought was that it was someone else in the neighbourhood,” said Murphy.

Murphy ran out of his house to help his neighbour and realized it was actually his home that was on fire.

After getting his wife and dog out of the house, he saw the fire had spread to his neighbour’s home.

“My neighbour’s in danger so running over to hammer on her door and wake her up and make sure that she is going to be OK,” said Murphy.

Fire crews soon arrived and were able to quickly extinguish the blaze. Murphy’s neighbour’s house was saved but unfortunately his home is a total loss.

"There’s major fire damage and extensive smoke damage," said Saanich deputy fire chief Dan Wood.

“At this point the cause has not been determined,” said Staff-Sgt. Chris Horsley with the Saanich police.

Police are requesting any security footage from the neighbourhood that could be helpful to the investigation.

“If they see somebody out on the street or anything suspicious this morning after 6 a.m., certainly to give us a call at the Saanich Police Department,” said Horsley.

As Murphy tries to come to terms with the loss of his home, he is thankful for his neighbour.

“She’s definitely a hero,” said Murphy. “She jumped into action.”

Hucul doesn’t think she’s a hero.

“No, I’m not a hero. Anybody would have done that,” said Hucul. “I don’t feel like I saved their lives.”

“I’m just glad that it turned out the way that it turned out,” she added.