Sparwood SAR held their grand re-opening in their newly rennovated location, Monday, May 7. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Sparwood SAR held their grand re-opening in their newly rennovated location, Monday, May 7. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Sparwood SAR holds grand reopening

Search and rescue team recovers after fire destroyed its headquarters in December 2016

On December 17, 2016, Sparwood Search and Rescue (SAR) lost the majority of their equipment to a fire in their facility. Everything that was in the hall was either destroyed or smoke damaged.

This disaster ended up costing the volunteer organization approximately $350,000. It was a long journey back to recovery but on Monday, May 7, they finally opened the doors to their brand new facility.

On December 17, 2016 Sparwood SAR lost their facility to a fire. Sparwood SAR photo
Utility garage in Sparwood SAR’s new facility. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Thirty individuals make up the group of volunteer rescue personnel.

Sparwood SAR started out in the late 1970s as a group of outdoor enthusiasts who would help out when needed in the community. As time went on they became more organized and eventually moved into the Sparwood Fire Hall.

They have been in their current location on Douglas Fir Rd since 2010, and were planning to renovate the space in the next three years but the fire accelerated that schedule.

Fortunately, both rescue trucks, fully packed with gear, were parked outside the building when the fire occurred, and were undamaged.

Additionally, the command trailer and snowmobiles were also outside so Sparwood SAR was still able to respond to emergencies over the winter season.

For the year that followed the disaster, SAR had to improvise, but managed to stay operational the entire time.

“Our office space was out of our command trailer, we had a large tent out back and a shipping container, and that was the SAR base,” said Sparwood SAR manager Ed Ehrler.

“You can tell we’ve come a long way in the last year.”

In addition to an insurance payout, Sparwood SAR received a large sum of money through donations from the public.

“A lot of really generous donors helped us out, and we were able to get the place rebuilt into a newer, better facility,” said Ehrler.

The space in the new facility is more effective for a search and rescue team.

Before SAR took over the space in 2010, the building was used for commercial purposes.

A bay in the back was available but too small to fit a SAR truck. The office space in the front was also too small.

The newer, more modern facility features a better floor plan and amenities.

Volunteers now have a better space for meetings and briefings as well as a larger, dedicated dispatch room.

Meeting room in the new Sparwood SAR facility. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

“It’s a very good feeling,” said Ehrler, standing in the new dispatch room.

“We’ve actually run three search and rescue operations out of this building since we moved back in, in the early winter, and it’s been working really well for us.”

Sparwood SAR is one of 80 search and rescue groups across B.C., their closest neighbours on either side being Elkford, Fernie, Cranbrook and Kimberley.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Jack Turner participating in Sparwood Search and Rescue’s grand reopening.  Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Jack Turner participating in Sparwood Search and Rescue’s grand reopening. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Just Posted

(Pixabay)
B.C. ranks as fourth most attractive Canadian jurisdiction for resources companies

B.C. was ahead of neighbouring Alberta, which was ranked as the seventh-best Canadian jurisdiction

Castlegar’s Gabrielle Herle (right) will be one of the speakers at the conference. She is seen here with Wendy Gaskill from Chinook Scaffolding accepting their Contractor of the Year Award in 2019 from the Builders Code Champion Awards. Photo: Submitted
Girls in STEAM and Leadership Conference offered free for all girls in the Kootenay Boundary

Virtual conference for girls in grades 8 to 12 will be taking place on March 8

Flowers given to seniors that were 'adopted' through the Buds and Blooms program. (Image contributed by Lilac Terrace, Sparwood)
Brighten a senior’s day with flowers

Receiving flowers can improve well-being by lifting spirits, so the folks at… Continue reading

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Interior Health reported 43 new COVID-19 cases in the region Feb. 23, 2021 and no additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
43 new cases of COVID reported in Interior Health

No new deaths, Williams Lake outbreak over

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Interior Health officially declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Creekside Landing in Vernon on Jan. 3, which was followed by the first death from the virus 10 days later. (Kaigo photo)
COVID outbreak over at Vernon care home

Creekside Landing cleared of coronavirus, despite additional death in last day

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Winlaw artist Lou Lynn is one of eight Canadians to win a Governor General's award this year. Photo: Janet Dwyer
Kootenay artist Lou Lynn wins Governor General’s award

Lynn is among eight artists honoured throughout Canada

(pixabay)
Francofest 2021

Contribué par Anne-Charlotte Sawatzky AFRoS L’AFRoS présente son FRANCOFEST, festival francophone de… Continue reading

Most Read