Fire in Spardell Mobile Home Park, March 16 2021. (Contributed)

Fire in Spardell Mobile Home Park, March 16 2021. (Contributed)

‘Inconceivable we are at fault’: Park owners, District of Sparwood clash over Spardell hydrants

Wilks said the hydrants were suspected to have been frozen on Tuesday morning

The District of Sparwood has hit back at an allegation on Facebook that Sparwood Fire and Rescue responders were at fault in responding to the fire at the Spardell Mobile Home Park on Tuesday, with the district instead saying that the inoperative hydrant could have been frozen.

A post made on a Sparwood community page from one of the owners of the park denied responsibility for the fire hydrants not working, saying that park employees had had no trouble getting the hydrant closest to where the fire was in the park to work without any repairs.

“The problem was not with the hydrant or the park owners but with the fire department that could not activate it,” the post reads.

In responding to a fire in the park earlier this week, first responders were forced to abandon two fire hydrants in close proximity to the fire after they did not work.

The post from a park owner, made two days after the fire, garnered significant derision, with more than 150 negative comments.

Hours later, Mayor of Sparwood, David Wilks posted on his own page with a spirited defense, saying that “allegations against our fire department will not be tolerated,” and shared a video showing a hydrant in the park being opened – but with no water flowing from it.

Wilks explained that two hydrants within the park were fully opened on Tuesday, March 16 but they had to be abandoned because they were not working.

Two other hydrants within the park did work on the day.

Subsequent investigation by employees of the owner of the park had yielded evidence that the hydrants were frozen on Tuesday morning, said Wilks, explaining that a park employee had used salt and hot water on a non-functioning hydrant to get it to start working.

“So, the fire chief suspects the hydrant valve was frozen closed and that is why they were not able to open either of these hydrants on March 16th. Note that the temperature was cooler on Tuesday morning (-10) and these hydrants have had a couple of warm days to thaw out.”

Nonetheless, Wilks said it was bewildering that anyone could accuse district fire fighters of not knowing how to operate a hydrant.

“Mayor and Council do not understand why anyone would think that our fire fighters would not use a hydrant that is working to fight a fully involved structure fire or why they would call for assistance from Fernie Fire Rescue and Elkford Fire Rescue to send Tenders if they knew they had enough water.

“All of our fire fighters are trained in opening and closing fire hydrants and it is inconceivable to Mayor and Council that anyone would suggest that we are at fault in this situation.”

The fire on Tuesday led to minor injuries to one homeowner, the death of two pets, and the complete loss of one mobile home along with heat damages to another two.

READ MORE: Faulty hydrants hamper fire rescue in Spardell
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Municipal Government

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

Just Posted

Members of the community garden hosted their first seed swap and fundraiser at the Greenwood Mall in Sparwood on Monday. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Sparwood Community Garden hosts first seed swap

Work on the garden at Engelmann Spruce Drive will begin soon

Crews and volunteers responded to a four-hectare wildfire on the lower half of the Aqam community lands near Cranbrook on Friday afternoon. Trevor Crawley photo.
Wildfire season gets early start in the East Kootenay

Fire crews, volunteers respond to two local wildfires, while prescribed burns turn weekend skies smoky

A conceptual image of a multi-family housing development envisioned by Abugov Kaspar Architects to go on a lot in Castle Mountain in Fernie. (Image courtesy of City of Fernie)
City defers zoning decision

A zoning change would permit a development with 15 percent rental tenure residences in Castle Mountain

Rob and Jennifer King run Sasquatch Cyclery out of their garage. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)
‘Hop on it now’: Parts crunch hits cycling

New bikes are hard to get and used bikes are selling at a premium this year

Michel-Natal-Sparwood Heritage Society runs a museum that was established to display the heritage of the "no-longer towns" of Michel and Natal, and the Elk Valley Area. Photo Submitted/Monica Beranek, Artifact Curator
Sparwood Museum requests a leg up to stay open full-time

The museum is volunteer-run, but needs a full-time employee to be able to snag much-needed grants

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BREAKING: Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
B.C. health authority seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

Chakalaka Bar and Grill plans to continue serving customers without public health compliance

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

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to target people ages 40+ in ‘high risk communities’ with AstraZeneca vaccine

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Cow boss statue destined for Williams Lake Stampede Grounds goes up in flames

Carver Ken Sheen lost the statue, all his tools and his shop in the blaze

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains. (Hansard TV)
B.C. moves to protect employee pay for COVID-19 vaccination

Most won’t need to take time off work, labour minister says

Most Read