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Fire strikes in Cawston
Keremeos and District Volunteer Fire Department responded to a fire that broke out in a Barcelo Road residence in Cawston on Friday, February 7.
The home was fully involved when firefighters arrived on scene at approximately 8 a.m.
Keremeos firefighters called on the assistance of Osoyoos Fire Department, who arrived with a tender and five personnel, reinforcing the KVFD contingent of roughly a dozen firefighters and three new recruits.
Cold temperatures and the need to shuttle water hampered firefighting efforts.
“The building was completely involved when we arrived and is a complete write off,” said KVFD Chief Jordy Bosscha Friday afternoon. The stubborn fire, which is believed to have begun in the building’s carport, spread to firewood near the residence. Bosscha said the fire department was having difficulty acquiring the services of an excavator to help with mop up.
Cindy Horrocks is the daughter in law of George (83) and Marlene Mysel (79), the owners of the house. Horrocks said Monday that the couple were now living in her basement suite, and were coping with the loss of their house.
“The fire investigator was here yesterday,” she said, “ and they believe the cause is accidental.”
Horrocks said everything burned in the blaze, including two vehicles in the garage.
On the morning of the fire, Horrocks’ husband Bryan was having coffee with the Mysels, getting ready to take George to Kelowna for a medical appointment, when he heard a pop and crackling sound. He pulled open the garage door and saw fire going up the wall in the corner. He thought at the time that he might be able to control it, but upon closer examination found the attic above the garage a blazing inferno.
“So he ran back into the house and said ‘come you guys, get out we’ve got a fire,’ and then it was just a matter of minutes,” related Horrocks.
“I was just getting ready to go into town and Marlene called me and yelled ‘we got a fire, come over and get the dog, and I ran over and got the dog and brought her dog back here and called 911 just in case and ran back over.
“When I first went there I couldn’t see anything but just a little smoke on the backside of the house and when I went back over there again, it was less than five minutes, the flames were shooting out the roof.
“We got the dog out, we got them out, we threw the clothes out the window and within 10 minutes she was totally involved,” Horricks said.
Horrocks figures the difference between life and death could have been the matter of a few minutes. Herself, Bryan and George were minutes away from leaving for Kelowna, and Marlene, who had recently been troubled with arthritis, was about to lay down again.
“It was so scary when you think what could have happened because in the next 20 minutes we would have been gone. Just the way that it all went together, that we were still here even if she had gotten herself out she would have been alone.
“Our neighbours were amazing. They came over and tried to help, they stayed with Marlene and George while we tried to get things organized. It’s a nice little community and that’s why we live here.”
The two families had moved to Cawston during the past five years. They got Marlene’s tea cart out of the house and a few clothes and that was the only thing other than a couple of pieces of clothing.
“You think you know what you’re doing but it just goes so fast, you’re just caught up in the moment.
“They (fire department) got here very quickly but it was just too late.
“We were really, really pleased, they (firefighters) were there all day. They worked eight hours and did everything they could, and even when they knew they couldn’t save it they still did everything they could to control it. They’re awesome.
Friday’s fire was the third major structure fire in a week fought by the beleaguered Keremeos fire department, who barely had time to service their turnout gear before being called to another serious blaze.
A fire at the Riverbed Bistro last Saturday, February 1 was followed by the destruction of a building on Seventh Avenue on Monday morning, February 3.