Rob Hannigan woke up early Monday morning to screaming, a dog barking and thick smoke creeping up from the basement of the northwest Calgary bungalow he rents.

He immediately grabbed a fire extinguisher in an attempt to help the young couple and their friends who live downstairs, but couldn’t get past the heat and smoke. When fire crews arrived they pulled out Jonathan St. Pierre and Tiffany Cox along with two other women, who are currently in hospital in critical condition.

“I’m quite worried about them,” Hannigan said. “I wish I could have done something to get them out. The ambulance showed up in about four or five minutes. They kind of pulled me away from the house because I was still trying to see if I could do anything. They all came out unconscious.”

Fire crews believe a space heater is responsible for igniting the blaze, which was on the 500 block of 33 St NW.

The spokesperson for the fire department said Calgary firefighters did a remarkable job despite the configuration of the suite, considering they quickly located all four individuals and the fire, all in different locations. Firefighters reported zero visibility when they first entered the basement.

The fire was contained to one corner of the basement, while evidence of smoke painted the entire lower level.

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