Volunteer firefighters of the Burns Lake Fire Department spent most of their Thanksgiving weekend protecting the community.
The fire department attended five emergency calls within 32 hours – from noon on Saturday, Oct. 8, to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 9.
“I am very grateful for our dedicated unpaid professionals,” said Burns Lake fire chief Robert Krause.
When asked how the firefighters felt about spending time away from their families during the long weekend, Krause said it is “part of their expectation.”
“That’s part of the responsibility of being in a fire department and our guys understand that,” said Krause. “They recognize that’s part of the job and we’ve all had interrupted dinners; when the alarm goes off in the middle of the night we all lose sleep.”
The first call was when a local woman was hit by a Via Rail train on Saturday, Oct. 8.
The fire department then received two different medical calls to assist B.C. Ambulance Service in Burns Lake.
The fourth incident was a small electrical fire at Carroll Cottage, a retirement home on Forth Avenue in Burns Lake.
The final incident was a structural fire at a shed located at the end of Railway Avenue, near Peters Road in Burns Lake.
“For the structural fire we had a total of 13 of our 22 active members, so that’s pretty good on a long weekend,” said Krause.
The structural fire started in a recreational vehicle and a camper trailer, later spreading to the shed. Krause said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Overall, 17 Burns Lake firefighters responded to at least one call during the Thanksgiving weekend.
In addition to the 22 active firefighters in Burns Lake, six new members are currently undergoing training.
“I consider us to be at full capacity if we have 28 members, which is where we are sitting right now,” said Krause.
“We take a lot of pride in the fact that on a long weekend, when everybody wants to spend time with family, we were able to put a crew together for all those calls,” he added.
Replace fire alarms every 10 years
As part of fire prevention week, the provincial government encouraged British Columbians to replace smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old last week.
“Smoke alarms save lives and provide early warning in the event of a fire, giving you time to take action with your fire escape plan,” said Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness. “Although we hope you never have to use it, planning and practicing your home escape plan may one day save your life and the lives of your loved ones.”
To check how old your smoke alarm is, simply look at the date of manufacture on the back of the alarm.