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Residents safe after fire destroys home outside protection zone

The hands of the Peachland Fire and Rescue Service were tied yesterday when a fire outside their contracted area of responsibility destroyed a home. They would have responded however if lives were threatened but this wasn't the case. Only the home was damaged.
December 13, 2013 - 11:11 AM

THOMPSON/OKANAGAN - There was nothing to be done for a burning home outside Peachland's fire department area of responsibility.

A fire was reported around 3:45 p.m. yesterday but when Peachland Fire and Rescue Service learned there was no one in the two-storey home on the 4500 block of Trepanier Road they could not respond. Instead, fire chief Dennis Craig drove out to the scene to make sure the blaze did not threaten the surrounding forest.

Craig said his team would have acted if lives were threatened but they were told the residents were not inside. They also would have acted if a request came in from the B.C. forest ministry.

"We have no contract. We can't commit any resources," the chief said.

Kelowna Deputy Fire Chief Jason Brolund said the emergency support services sent two of its volunteer members to the scene to offer three days of support to the displaced family such as vouchers for free hotel rooms and money for incidentals such as toothbrushes and pet food.

For Craig, a firefighter, he found it hard to watch the flames and not respond.

"It's not a regular thing. It is difficult given the nature of our job," he said.

Peachland Mayor Keith Fielding agreed there might be misunderstandings about fire suppression services. He explained not only do these residents live outside the boundary there is no water system out there fire trucks can make use of.

To contact a reporter for this story, to send photos or videos, email Shannon Quesnel needat squesnel@infotelnews.ca, call 250-488-3065, send tweets to @shannonquesnel1 or @InfoNewsPentict.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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