No fire coverage means North Okanagan home left to burn - InfoNews

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No fire coverage means North Okanagan home left to burn

Flames could still be seen Tuesday, April 4, 2017, the morning after a house fire on Highway 97, south of Vernon.
April 04, 2017 - 2:30 PM

VERNON - It continues to smoulder, and in some places, there’s still open flame at a North Okanagan home that caught fire overnight, but there isn’t a firefighter in sight.

That’s because the home, located on Highway 97 just south of Bailey Road, isn’t covered by municipal fire protection services.

According to interim Vernon fire chief David Lind, the City will respond to fires roughly up to the Kekuli Bay Campground on Highway 97. The home that caught fire Monday night is just a few kilometres south.

No one was at the property Tuesday morning, where a mess of ash and debris is all that’s left of the home. One resident told local radio station Kiss FM she made several calls to local fire departments but none would attend because the area was out of their jurisdiction.

Lind confirms the Vernon Fire Department was called, and says the dispatcher notified the B.C. Wildfire Service, as is their policy.

The home was completely destroyed.
The home was completely destroyed.

B.C. Wildfire spokesperson Max Birkner says crews went this morning to check on the fire and ensure it wasn’t going to become a wildfire. They concluded there was no risk of the fire spreading and left — B.C. Wildfire has no mandate to fight structure fires.

While fire coverage areas often follow political boundaries, Lind says another determining factor is how long it would take to respond and still be successful when crews arrive. He says homeowners who live on the outskirts of a fire protection area could try contacting the municipality to see if a boundary expansion is possible. 

“When homeowners choose to buy outside a fire protection area, they do that with the understanding there is no fire protection available,” Lind says.

He suggests that if you live on the fringe and aren't sure if you have fire protection, you should get in touch with your local municipality. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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