A local couple escaped without injury, but lost their home and belongings in a fire on their rural property Tuesday night.
Fire crews from Rossland, Warfield, Trail and Montrose were alerted to the blaze on Highway 22 near the Paterson border crossing, just before 7:30 p.m.
The fire, which destroyed the log home, took 33 firefighters about five hours to control.
The occupants were in the house at the time of the fire, said Fire Chief Terry Martin.
“They were alerted to the fire when people were running down their driveway informing them of the fire on the roof, and ensuring they were getting out of the house,” he explained. “When our crew arrived on scene the roof section was collapsing into the top floor of the structure.”
“It’s difficult for any fire department to knock this kind of fire down when it gets hold of a building,” said Martin. “It’s referred to as a defensive fight because we couldn’t do an interior attack – it just wasn’t safe with the roof collapsing so quickly.”
The home did have working fire alarms, which alerted around the same time passersby reached the front door, Martin said.
“The fortunate thing, if anything, is that nobody was hurt, and they do have insurance,” he said. “But it was a very serious fire that burned hard, and of course they are devastated.”
Investigation into the cause resumed Wednesday morning, which Martin said could be related to the chimney from a wood burning stove.
“The fire is not suspicious in nature,” he continued. “But we are still investigating because it occurred shortly after (the homeowner) started the wood stove in the basement.”
The rural property, which is a hobby farm with horses, has outbuildings which were not affected by flames.
“We were fortunate that conditions weren’t as dry as they were a month ago,” said Martin. “The fire didn’t extend to the nearby forest and they were able to ensure the horses were safe and that fire didn’t spread to the barn.”
The home’s water source is a well, so water was shuttled in from Rossland’s municipal supply. The Rossland engine was used as the main pumper while water tenders from Rossland, Trail and Montrose carried water back to the site.
Each truck holds 1,500 gallons of water, with the Rossland truck pumping from a bladder, or portable tank.