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Columbia Gardens fire engulfs three vehicles and a boat

Firefighters from Trail and Beaver Valley responded to an aggressive car fire Tuesday afternoon
Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue responded to a car fire in Columbia Gardens on Tuesday afternoon. The flames quickly spread and engulfed another car, an RV and a boat as well as nearby grass which is tinder dry. (Trail Times file photo)

Two vehicles, an RV and a boat were destroyed in what began as a single-car fire on Columbia Gardens Road Tuesday afternoon.

Regional Fire Chief Dan Derby says the 9-1-1 call came into dispatch at approximately 3 p.m., prompting crews from Trail, Montrose and Fruitvale to respond to the rural property emergency a few kilometres west of Fruitvale

Derby says the residents were not home when the fire originated in one car. Upon return, they were not able to extinguish the flames and subsequently called Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue for aid.

“Car fires are very hard to determine what took place,” he said. “So we are not going to be able to determine the cause, but what did happen is the fire in one of the vehicles spread to the dry grass and ended up spreading to multiple other vehicles.”

The incident was under control by about 4 p.m., however crews stayed at the scene until the early evening.

No injuries were reported.

“We did a standby because of the fire conditions, just to make sure with the dry grass afterwards,” Derby told the Times. “The major fire was under control within the hour, then after that, it was mopping up and monitoring.”

Typically, a single-car fire doesn’t so quickly engulf nearby vehicles.

So the extreme situation on Tuesday is a good reminder for others about the potential peril of the ongoing tinder dry conditions.

“This is a different conversation,” he explained, emphasizing the Columbia Gardens incident was a car fire and not related to a person lighting a fire. “But as we all know people continue to burn, the RCMP and Conservation Officer are writing tickets on a regular basis which is surprising and disappointing,” Derby concluded.

“But that’s why they are doing that, because the fire conditions are so tentative and dangerous right now - here we saw this fire that would have been normally just a single-vehicle fire, spread to multiple assets.”

Sheri Regnier

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