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First fire of WFVFD’s year a total loss, southwest of Quesnel

Small house on Kumferschmidt Road succumbs to flames
The West Fraser Volunteer Fire Department responded early Wednesday (Nov. 22) morning to the 1000-block of Kupferschmid Road where a home was destroyed by fire. (Karen Powell photo)

First the one fire department was called, then a second was added to help fight off the early morning glow where a small home had been only moments before.

It was about 6:30 a.m. when the West Fraser Volunteer Fire Department (WFVFD) rolled first to the 1000-block of Kupferschmid Road a few minutes southwest of Quesnel.

Before 6:45 a.m., the Quesnel Fire Department (QFD) was also dispatched for mutual aid.

The encountered a fully engulfed mobile home on a rural property.

WFVFD fire chief Lance Wilkins could see upon arrival that the home itself was “a total loss” so the crews set to work extinguishing the site, and preventing extension to other adjacent values.

The home’s occupants had already departed the area by the time Wilkins arrived, he said. “I heard that one person might have possibly be hurt, but I can’t be definite about that.”

The WFVFD crew was made up of seven firefighters, with about as many from the QFD which also contributed two important trucks for this kind of fire fight.

“They helped us out a lot, it was really great, with water and manpower, so we appreciate the help,” Wilkins said. There were no fire hydrants in that area. “We relayed water. The City’s two trucks, and our tanker and engine, it was nice to have all that help. But it was an old mobile home, and just amazing how fast it went up.”

There was a light snow on the ground, so that helped prevent the spread of fire to other properties. There were two outbuildings not far from the house, and one of those sheds was also consumed by the flames, with the other suffering burns but not utter loss. There were no adjacent boats, recreational vehicles or spare cars to be affected.

Wilkins was unaware if the property had any insurance, or if any community support would be needed for the residents who lost the house.

This was the first structure fire of 2023 for the WFVFD. Wilkins hoped that was a result of education and awareness for fire prevention measures. The fire department is active about reminding the public about the need to take precautions, and they are always training for moments like these where fires and other incidents do occur.

Anyone who lives in the West Fraser general area was encouraged by Wilkins to drop in, by appointment or just spontaneously, and visit the firehall (243 Jackpine Flats Road) especially on Thursday nights at 7 when the department has training sessions each week. Just drop in, he said. Wilkins is also available by phone (250-992-2534) to answer any questions and start that process.

New or experienced volunteers are needed to keep the department vital and ready for moments like the morning fire.