Apartment evacuated, fire not found

There was noise, but nothing more.

Salmon Arm firefighters from Hall 3 and Hall 2 responded to a report of a structure fire at Cedar Manor, 90 First Ave. SW at 9:40 p.m. Wednesday night.

"Upon arrival, no smoke or fire was witnessed," said fire chief Brad Shirley, noting, that on after hearing the building's fire alarm, one woman thought she had smelled smoke.

The building was evacuated so firefighters could do a thorough search.

"We discovered there was no fire, rather a faulty heat detector in one of the suites," says Shirley. "There wasn't a heat-related source that set off the alarm."

Shirley says the fire department is well aware of the costs associated with the policy of having so many firefighters respond to a structure fire, but notes it is standard practice for good reason.

"We have an automatic two-hall response," he says. "It's easier to turn them back than call them out and have a delay that results in the loss of life or property."

Members of both halls helped to search the building.

"We make them available on scene in case of another call out, but we like to keep them until it is confirmed there is no fire," Shirley said. He says there was a time delay because firefighters didn't have access to every apartment and had to wait for the property manager to arrive with keys.

"We could have conducted forcible entry but when there's no signs of smoke we like to wait. But if there had been any sign of smoke we would have breached the doors."

Firefighters were on scene for 90 minutes.


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