Sparwood Search and Rescue is still operational but much of its equipment has been destroyed.

Fire at the Sparwood SAR hall

On the morning of Dec. 17, a fire broke out at the Sparwood SAR hall on Douglas Fir Road.

  • Dec. 21, 2016 11:00 a.m.

By Ezra Black

On the morning of Dec. 17, Sparwood Search and Rescue (SAR) were the ones in need of rescuing when a fire burned through their hall on Douglas Fir Road.

“By the time our members arrived, large amounts of smoke were pouring from the rear half of the building where a large amount of our emergency response equipment is stored,” said Ed Ehrler, SAR manager.

The call came in at around 9:40 a.m. and the Sparwood Fire Department was on scene within minutes.

Dean Spry, Fire Chief of the Sparwood Fire Department, said 18 firefighters worked in wind chill conditions of below -30 degrees Celsius to contain and extinguished the blaze before it could burn through to the offices and training room in the front half of the building. This allowed SAR personnel to move their response trucks away from the hall before they were damaged.

Spry said the fire was extinguished at around 10:11 a.m.

“We had units on scene within two minutes of the call coming in,” he said. “There were some challenging conditions. The cold plays havoc with our water but things went relatively easy.”

Nobody was hurt and the exact cause of the fire has not been determined at this time but it does not appear to be suspicious. Spry said the point of origin might have been one of the off-highway vehicles stored in the hall.

Ehrler said they would still be able to respond to search and rescue incidents. Their emergency response trucks, incident command trailer and snowmobiles were undamaged and nearby SAR groups have offered to provide operational support.

There were no injuries but Ehrler said preliminary estimates put losses at approximately $175,000 in vehicles and equipment destroyed or damaged, with the building itself suffering at least another $100,000 in damage.

“Nearly all of the equipment housed in the rear of the building was destroyed or heavily damaged by the intense heat and smoke including all three of our side-by-side all terrain vehicles (ATV’s), four inflatable boats, a trailer and a multitude of first aid and rescue equipment and tools,” said Ehrler. “In addition, the front half of the building and its contents suffered smoke damage throughout and the building has been left unusable for the foreseeable future.”

Sparwood SAR had been fundraising to make a number of general repairs and updates to their hall later in the new year, “but the timetable for this work will need to be moved up to line up with repairs to the fire damage,” said Ehrler.

While much of the cost should be covered by insurance, Ehrler expects there will be additional expenses to keep Sparwood SAR up and running.

“As a charitable non-profit organization we will gratefully accept any donations,” he said.

Donations can be made online by visiting Sparwood.vr-sar.org, by email at sparwoodsar@gmail.com or telephone at (250) 425-5913.

Just Posted

Crews successfully battle overnight house fire in Tie Lake

No injuries, home damage minimal thanks to quick response by crews

More burning prohibitions rescinded in southeast B.C.

Category 2 and 3 fires will be permitted in Southeast Fire Centre as of 1p.m. on Wednesday.

UPDATED: Pratt to be acclaimed as Cranbrook mayor

Mayor will serve another term after running unopposed in the upcoming municipal election

Eight cattle dead in tunnel crash

RCMP thanks agencies after cattle truck crash; investigates vehicle and thrift store thefts

Parlez-vous français? Fernie students do!

Francophone and schools offering French immersion popular among Elk Valley families

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Youth give back to community

On August 30, Eliora and William Vandersteen, Matthew White, Isla Vandersteen, Alexis… Continue reading

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

Most Read