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Home burns as water woes hamper fire response

This picture of the house fire in Ellison was posted to Facebook by Melissa Carl.
Image Credit: Facebook
January 12, 2015 - 6:32 PM

KELOWNA — A fire that destroyed a log home in the hills behind Kelowna International Airport is a reminder of the risk that can come with living in semi-rural ares—the fire-fighting effort was hampered by the lack of a nearby fire hydrant and compounded by steep terrain and icy roads.

“It dramatically affected our efforts,” says Dan Wilderman, fire services manager for the Central Okanagan Regional District. “There was notable access issues. We were unable to save the house."

Wilderman says water trucks that would normally respond to fires in rural areas could not get up the steep access road on Twin Creek Rd., leaving only the water that was onboard individual trucks for the fire fighting effort.

The house was unoccupied and undergoing renovations when fire broke out. Under a mutual aid agreement, units from Lake Country and Kelowna airport responded to the fire. 

“That’s not typical,” Wilderman says. “But they provided access.”

Home owner Melissa Carl, who posted pictures of the blaze on her Facebook page, also thanked friends and relatives for their support. Carl lamented the loss of personal mementoes but said the family would get through the situation. Carl did not respond to a request for an interview.

Wilderman said there was a mapping mixup and the house and property were actually in the unprotected zone where there is no guarantee of service, but units responded anyway.

He added that residents who choose to live in the generally pricey homes in the urban forest interface do so knowing the risk of limited or non-existent fire service.

“That is made is clear to them,” Wilder said. “Residents do have the option in these areas of banding together and paying for fire services although there is a taxation component.”

Weather and location conspired against this Ellison house which burned to the ground on Sunday.
Weather and location conspired against this Ellison house which burned to the ground on Sunday.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at jmcdonald@infotelnews.ca or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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