A woman and her two children were able to get out safely when the flames started roaring through their East Hill home Thursday afternoon, but the house is a “total loss”, according to Vernon Fire Rescue deputy Chief Scott Hemstad.
Just before 4 p.m., on Thursday, Sept. 26, Vernon firefighters were called to the home on 35th Avenue and 13th Street—across the street from Silver Star Elementary School—to respond to a structure fire.
Upon arrival, deputy fire Chief Hemstad said his crew found one home engulfed in flames and a neighbouring home was in danger of also catching. He said the fire had potential to spread to the second home but Vernon Fire Rescue acted quickly to defend the dwelling.
“They quickly pulled the line and protected the exposure so it didn’t spread to the second house,” he said, noting an air conditioning unit and siding was damaged by the blaze. “When more crews arrived, they applied more water to the main structure fire.”
Nearly a dozen neighbours lined the sidewalks to watch the situation unfold, even after firefighters and the City of Vernon told the public to stay away from the area to make room for emergency personnel.
BC Hydro and Fortis BC crews cut utilities to the home around 4:30 p.m. Kalamalka Security and Restoration teams arrived on scene shortly before 5 p.m. to ensure the home was secured over night.
“Today was an example of the dedicated work of our local firefighters and the expertise they have in responding to such calls,” fire Chief David Lind said. “Between the two homes is a large tree, which caught fire but crews were able to suppress the fire to save the second home.”
The fire is under investigation and no cause has been determined at this time.
– with photos from Steve Wensley of Prime Light Media