A 97-year-old woman in Selma Park escaped a house fire last Saturday that originated near the gas fireplace in her home.
“She attempted to actually put water on the fire and then realized she wasn’t going to get the fire out, so she left the premises and called for help. She did the right thing,” said acting Sechelt fire Chief Trevor Pike. “She was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.”
The Sechelt volunteer fire department was called to the blaze at 5779 Sunshine Coast Hwy. about 10:30 a.m. July 19.
Pike said 23 Sechelt firefighters responded, with the first truck on scene in approximately four minutes. Three Halfmoon Bay Fire Department members also attended the call.
“Upon fire department arrival, heavy smoke and fire conditions were visible from the rear of the structure,” Pike said. “Fire crews initiated an initial fire attack and were able to bring the fire under control and eventually extinguish the fire completely.”
Firefighters were able to keep the damage to the upper floor and attic of the two-storey home. It’s believed the fire started when something combustible near the glass of the gas fireplace got too hot and ignited.
“That’s probably what happened, but that has not been determined as the 100 per cent for-sure answer,” Pike said. “We’re still doing dig-out work down there, trying to find signs of what may have been the first material ignited, but to the best of my knowledge right now, that’s what it looks like, that it was caused by combustible items being put too close to the fireplace.”
Pike noted that combustible materials should be kept at least 1.5 metres away from both gas and wood fireplaces to avoid a similar situation.
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