Fire Fighting in Canada

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Fireworks sparked blaze that destroyed home

Nov. 1, 2011, Kelowna, B.C. - A man living in the North Okanagan community of Enderby, B.C. is guilty of what a fire chief calls "pure stupidity'' after setting off fireworks inside a bedroom.

November 1, 2011
By The Canadian Press

Kevin Alstad, chief of the Enderby and District Fire Department, said the unidentified man, believed to be 18, was partying with friends in the two-storey house on Sunday.

He said the group had been launching fireworks off the deck for much of the day before the firebug moved inside.

"You have a few lit in the bedroom, it'll light things up pretty fast,'' said Alstad. "Pure stupidity. This is right up there.''

Neighbours told firefighters the blaze started instantly, said Alstad, and the occupants roused a man who was sleeping in a back bedroom and got out of the house quickly.

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Police arrived and compiled a list of the people present, but by the time firefighters arrived, the house was engulfed in flames and everyone had scattered.

"I could hear the roof creaking. We had four (firefighters) inside the building. I got on my radio and got my guys out,'' Alstad
said.

The roof collapsed soon after, and the 1970s-era house was destroyed.

The 14 firefighters saved the neighbouring homes and stopped the fire from spreading to nearby bushes. They worked for nine hours.

Alstad said it will cost about $200,000 to replace the home.

"Accidents are one thing,'' he said. "Being stupid, you shake your head.''