FLEETWOOD - An elderly man and woman, both in their 70s, passed away early Sunday after a "smoking material" lit a couch on fire in the top floor of their home.
Surrey firefighters were called to the home in the 9400-block of 157th Street just before 3 a.m. Sunday morning.
Firefighters arrived to find the top floor of the house fully engulfed in flames.
Neighbours alerted firefighters that residents were likely in the home.
Surrey deputy fire chief Karen Fry said the individuals were pulled from the home and given medical attention, but both died as a result of injuries from the fire, "most probably of smoke inhalation."
The upper floor of the home suffered extensive damage.
"The cause of the fire has been identified as smoking materials on a couch," Fry said.
The extent of the damage to the home leads the department to believe there was no working smoke alarm in the residence, Fry said. One alarm was found but it was badly burned.
"Usually a smoke alarm, the main purpose is to alert the occupants of the smoke to get them out of the home," she said.
Fry said seniors account for 32 per cent of all fire deaths in B.C. over the last five years, but only make up 15 per cent of the population.
"The amount of people in this age group is going to be growing. Right now they are twice as likely as others to die in fires," Fry said.
"Especially the individuals that are living in residential properties or homes. There is no ability, or sometimes they are not aware, that they should be checking them.... (Smoke alarms) don't last forever and do need to be replaced every 10 years, and tested every six months."
Fry said single parents are also at high risk of dying in fires.
"Probably because they're often busy and distracted," she said.
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