A motorbike burns in a garage fire at a property in the Annex on New Year’s Eve. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Cause of New Year’s Eve fire unknown

On New Years Eve, Fernie Fire and Rescue responded to a call in the Annex area because garage that had caught on fire.

On New Year’s Eve, Fernie Fire and Rescue responded to a call in the Annex area because a garage had caught on fire.

“The cause for this fire is undetermined at this time, but it is possible that it was fireworks related,” said Ted Ruiter, Fernie Fire Department Chief.

The garage and its contents sustained heavy damage, so much that the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“I went back the following day and there was so much damage it is kind of hard to determine exactly what the cause was,” said Ruiter. “It is hard to say, there is so much damage. There was fireworks that evening, not just by that particular resident but lots of people in that particular neighbourhood were blasting off fireworks because it was New Years Eve. The majority of them failed to get permits, which is against the bylaw.”

The chief wants to remind residents of Fernie that there are permits required for fires and fireworks.

“[It’s] important to note that any fireworks set off in the City of Fernie require a Fireworks Permit and approval by the Fire Chief or his designate, Bylaw No. 2029, The Fire Protection and Life Safety Bylaw,” said Ruiter.

Bylaws like No. 2029 are in place to help mitigate potentially uncontrolled fires.

“Our bylaw speaks to what people can and can’t do in Fernie. We allow people to have fire pit permits, which follow certain guidelines and distances. As far as firework permits they have to come and apply for that,” said Ruiter. “There is a $10 fee if it is personal use on your own property. You just need to be aware that there are certain hazards, especially with close proximity to buildings and so forth.”

The bylaw regulates the use, sale, restriction and permits of fireworks and aims to promote safe and responsible firework use.

While there were fireworks in the Annex area that night, the fire department is unsure of the specific cause of the fire.

Due to the open investigation and insurance claims, certain details of the fire could not be released at this time.