Thanks to quick action from neighbours, a fire in Linear Park was extinguished before firefighters arrived.
Vernon Fire Rescue Services was dispatched to 25th Avenue and 41st Street Friday afternoon for reports of a cedar hedge fire.
But Jack Smith and his neighbour were already tending to the blaze. The two Spruce Landing residents who live on the opposite side of the hedge had their garden hoses out and stopped the blaze from spreading.
“We are very lucky because if it would’ve happened at night our bedroom’s on that end, a few feet from the fire,” Jack’s wife Lynette said. “At night if we wouldn’t have heard it we could have died.”
Lynette was watering her plants when she noticed the fire.
“I was in the backyard and I heard this funny crackling sound and I looked and I could see it looked like flames. I looked again and I could see smoke so then I pounded on the patio doors.”
Jack called 911 and then gave the phone to Lynette so he could attack the blaze with a garden hose.
“I stopped it from burning,” said Jack.
The fire is something the Smiths have long been fearful of.
“I’ve worried about this for years with that hedge back there and there are street people camping there and cooking their drugs all the time,” Lynette said.
“It’s a constant problem at that bench,” Jack said.
“It started one time when I first moved here. Around 3:30 in the morning three girls were sitting on the bench laughing and making a lot of noise so I told them to ‘be quiet, people were trying to sleep.’”
When the girls didn’t stop making noise, Jack took his hose to them. They left immediately.
But the bench continues to frequent people, including those sleeping on it and in the nearby shrubs.
The Smiths call it a “chronic situation” that has long been a concern.
“A few years ago, I talked to the fire department and said this hedge is such a hazard,” Lynette said.
Friday’s fire sparked an emotional response from Lynette.
“I screamed at the policeman and the fireman and said ‘keep those street people away from here.’”
While thankful the crews were there to ensure it was out, she was still a little nervous.
“I’m not sleeping in the bedroom tonight. I’ll sleep on the couch.”