It was just a burn barrel, and then it wasn’t.
Shortly before 2 pm on Tuesday (4th May), fire broke out at the back of 1831 Front Street. Smoke rising alerted neighbours and someone called 911.
Within minutes there were flames rising high in the air and the heat became intense. The old garage at the back was completely engulfed in flames and the grass was on fire and heading toward neighbors houses.
The house across the lane got the fence burned but luckily the shed behind it with gas cans got spared. Further down the block, in the direction the wind was traveling, the two story house got hit with the heat and the siding melted. Steve and Cathy’s house across the lane was untouched but before that was confirmed, it elicited much fear and anxiety when they were called and told there was a fire besides their place. The old livery, also very close, seemed to withstand the heat better. The trees, and neighbour’s cottage behind them, being upwind, were all spared. Had the fire gone in that direction it could have been a major disaster.
A man from Penticton driving the Coalmont Road on his way to Tulameen saw the smoke and grabbed a shovel, which he just happened to have in his car, and ran to start dealing with the fire as best he could. Soon the Tulameen Fire Department arrived, stopped on Parrish outside the Coalmont General Store, and quickly employed hoses from the lane side. The Princeton Fire Department arrived with two vehicles as well. They brought extra water.
It was said that the fire started with a burn barrel which, while not being watched for a short while, set the dry grass on fire and spread quickly to the garage and beyond.
This is the second fire in Coalmont this spring with dry grass being involved. A few weeks ago there was a grass fire on Hope Street which was thought to be under control but started spreading when the wind came up. Again, the Tulameen Fire Department came to the rescue. §
Two trucks from Tulameen & District Fire Department and one from Princeton Volunteer Fire Department.