Castlegar’s fire chief Sam Lattanzio has released more details regarding the structure fire that destroyed two Castlegar homes on June 5.
When the call for the house fire on Yew Street came in at 11:00 a.m., the Castlegar Fire Department (CFD) was already on the other end of town dealing with a report of an abandoned camp fire/grass fire in the Fairview area.
Command 1 and Engine 2 both responded to the new fire directly from the Fairview area.
Engine 1 was redirected from Fairview to the fire hall to pick up additional members that were responding from home before going to the Yew Street fire.
Squad 1 also responded to the scene of the Yew Street fire.
Even with the CFD being out on another call, Command 1 reached the scene of the new fire just seven minutes after the call came in. But two homes and a vehicle were already fully involved in fire with a third home to the east being threatened by the time they arrived.
Lattanzio said the first arriving unit’s primary objective was to ensure that all occupants were out and accounted for from the three houses and to prevent the fire from further extending to the adjacent properties.
“CFD members quickly deployed hose lines to provide exposure protection to the third home and begin extinguishing the fires,” said Lattanzio.
The fire remains under investigation by the Castlegar RCMP and fire investigators, but the RCMP has said that their preliminary findings indicate arson.
The RCMP has arrested a suspect in the incident.
In all, fifteen CFD firefighters responded to the incident with two fire engines, one ladder truck, Squad 1 Rescue truck and a Command Unit. No injuries were reported to occupants or firefighters as a result of this incident.
“CFD would like to acknowledge the assistance of the Castlegar RCMP, BC Ambulance Service personnel, FortisBC Gas, FortisBC Electric and Castlegar Public Works personnel for their assistance with this incident,” said Lattanzio.
“In addition, CFD would also like to acknowledge the neighbours in the area that allowed CFD members to utilize their lawn so that we could set up our rehab and decon areas and also acknowledge the Castlegar Fire Department Auxiliary for arranging and delivering food and water to our members.”