What appeared to be a bush fire from a boat where Mike Vickery and his friends were fishing turned into a massive house fire on Monday evening.
RCMP and the North Shore Fire Department responded to Vickery’s 911 call around 5:40 p.m. and within what he guesses was 45 minutes the house at 2184 Highway 3A was engulfed in flames.
“We were out fishing and saw a small fire that either started on the deck or the left hand corner of the deck, we thought it was a bush fire at first and then we saw it start to consume the deck,” said Vickery who said his heart was still racing as he watched fire fighters battle the blaze from the beach. “We got across the lake as quickly as we could and called 911.”
The group moved a vehicle out of the garage because they thought it was the only thing they could save.
“We knocked on all the doors and they were locked, but by then there wasn’t much we could do,” he said. “It didn’t seem like anyone was home.”
Vickery said fire rescue was on the scene within about 10 minutes.
“It’s scary because the neighbours were elderly and they were sitting in their house and haden’t even noticed the fire,” he said. “We ran inside, I didn’t even knock and I said, ‘did you realize your neighbour’s house is on fire?'”
The North Shore Fire Department arrived on the scene with aid from other local departments.
“We responded with one engine and one tender, and at that time I called for mutual aid from Balfour, who also responded with one engine and one tender,” said deputy chief Fred Schneider.
Mutual aid also arrived from the Regional District of Central Kootenay and Nelson.
Schneider guessed that between 15 and 20 fire fighters were on the scene.
“There was no one in the house,” he said. “The cause at this time is unknown but it is unsuspicious.”
Sirens were heard throughout the evening as crews continued battling the fire into the night.
“We finally got it all knocked down and mopped up around 10:30 p.m.,” said Schneider. “We had to call in a back-hoe to tear some of the house down so we could get at spots under the floor joists. We finally got back to the hall at 1:30 a.m. The house was completely destroyed.”
Schneider said that the owner of the home lives out of town.
“It was a summer cabin at one time, and I understand the owner’s niece or nephew might be staying there,” he said.
Monday’s fire was the second on the North Shore in less than a week.