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Ashcroft fire engine burns out during last weekend's blaze

Ashcroft Fire Chief Brian Henderson stands next to the worn out 1974 fire engine at the Ashcroft Fire Hall.
July 23, 2014 - 1:08 PM

ASHCROFT – The fire which destroyed several buildings near the Ashcroft Manor on July 18 also burnt out the fire department's engine when it overheated at the scene.

“It’s just an old girl that worked hard,” Fire Chief Brian Henderson said Tuesday afternoon. He said the crew coming in that night would strip the truck of all its parts before limping the 1974 engine to its final resting place in the public works yard. 

“As of this weekend it’s no longer in service,” he said.

While the truck expended all its energy, so did Henderson’s volunteer firefighters as they fought three additional fires after the blaze by the manor.

“We pulled a 22 hour shift,” Henderson said.

“We started here at 11:30 at night and we finished at 9:30 the next night. We just kept working.”

The fire, which jumped the highway twice, consumed the dilapidated buildings from the town’s old Beam Station. Henderson said two wooden poles on the property were another cause for concern.

“Both of those were on fire and leaning,” he said.

Henderson and his crew decided to take a defensive role to save the Manor and Teahouse next door. The team along with members from Cache Creek and B.C. Wildfire saved both properties, despite limited water access. The nearest hydrant was a two minute drive away.

The manor only sustained a small fire on its roof. It remains open.

While the manor offers some historical significance to the community, Henderson said Ashcroft residents didn't consider the station houses as much of a site. One of the buildings was occupied six years ago, but the location hasn't seen traffic since then. 

Henderson said one of the buildings however was used in the 2005 blockbuster  "An Unfinished Life" with Robert Redford.

He said the owner of the destroyed property is devastated by his loss since it was uninsured. Henderson said it would have never been insurable but the owner from Surrey enjoyed visiting the property and mostly used it to store engine parts, which would have been salvageable if the fire wasn’t as extreme.

While the Friday night fire was the largest, three additional fires broke out later that night and Saturday. Two were near the manor site, while another started up by Cornwall Creek.

Henderson said he didn’t partake in fighting the last two fires; working 22 hours without sleep was his limit. Luckily volunteers who didn’t make it to the first fire were able to fill the void.

There are roughly 15 members of the Ashcroft Fire Department.

To contact a reporter for this story, email, or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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