Fire guts home in Tappen

This house on Bolton Road in Tappen was completely destroyed by fire on Sunday afternoon.  - photo contributed
This house on Bolton Road in Tappen was completely destroyed by fire on Sunday afternoon.
— image credit: photo contributed

A family of five were unharmed but have lost their home following a Sunday afternoon fire on Bolton Road in Tappen.

The family, which include grandparents raising two grandchildren and also living with an adult child, was not at home when the fire broke out in the back of the house at approximately 1 p.m. Feb. 9.

“A neighbour of theirs, who happens to be a firefighter was working in his basement when he smelled smoke, when he went upstairs to investigate, he saw the back of the house around the chimney was on fire and called 911,” says Tappen Sunnybrae Fire Chief Kyle Schneider.

The firefighter ran to the house to make sure no one was inside and managed to rescue the family dog before fire crews arrived on scene.

“We were dispatched at 1:07 p.m. and we arrived with 12 firefighters at 1:18. By the time we got there, the whole back of the house was fully engulfed… The house was a total loss. It was an older home with floor to ceiling cedar indoors and sawdust insulation, that didn’t make it easy.”

Assistance was also provided by tanker trucks from the White Lake and Shuswap fire departments.

Schneider says it took firefighters eight hours to fully extinguish the blaze, which took place in bitterly cold conditions.

“We had some real issues with the cold freezing our waterlines, our radios kept having to be defrosted, everything was freezing up.”

The fire chief offers credit to the Area C Rehab Unit, which came out to ensure that the firefighters were taken care of during the blaze.

The team is sent out to ensure the firefighters remain safe while at work by monitoring their pulse, respiration and hydration levels, ensuring they remained warm enough and keeping them fed.

“They did a tremendous job looking after us, so we could do our job in putting out this fire,” says Schneider.

While an official cause of the blaze has not yet been determined, it is not suspicious. Schneider says it appears the fire originated near a basement wood stove and chimney. Schneider urges citizens with wood heat to ensure their chimneys are kept clean and well maintained.

While the house was decimated, firefighters did managed to prevent the fire from spreading to an adjacent  barn with the family’s animals inside, their small orchard of fruit trees and a vehicle.

Everything inside the house was destroyed.

Schneider says next door neighbours have been able to offer the family temporary accommodation in another house on their property, so they can be close by as they make decisions about what to do.

“It’s tremendous to see neighbours helping neighbours like that,” he said.

The fire department is also putting out a fire boot at the Tappen Co-op to take cash donations for the family.

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