The interior of the truck that was discovered to be on fire at 4 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 7, at Freedom’s Gate Equine Rescue Society. (Photo contributed)

Truck explosion shakes residents at Shuswap horse rescue

Police monitoring Freedom’s Gate Equine Rescue property in Gleneden

A loud boom woke Carly Marchand-Jones out of bed Wednesday morning, followed immediately by the sound of her son’s screaming.

Marchand-Jones said the explosion occurred just before 4 a.m. on August 7.

At first she thought the sound had been a train making too rough a connection with other rail cars. That is until she saw an orange glow from her window and heard her son calling out for her.

Marchand-Jones is the owner and operator of Freedom’s Gate Equine Rescue Society, an organization that takes in abandoned or abused horses for rehabilitation and stabling. Located in the Gleneden area, she says this is not the first time the rescue has seen suspicious activity on its property. A little over a month ago, Marchand-Jones’ son had his car stolen.

As of Wednesday morning, the family has no vehicle.

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“I was in slow motion at that point, running down the hallway on my phone calling 911 at the same time listening to my son screaming,” she said. “I went outside and I saw the truck up in flames. Then I connected with 911 by four o’clock in the morning as the truck was exploding.”

Her husband and son leaped into action, protecting the house and car port from the blaze. Using hoses from the house, they sprayed down outside walls to protect them from the intense heat of the burning truck.

The truck was approximately 10 to 15 feet away from the bedroom of her son who, as a welder, kept acetylene gas tanks in the car port. Fortunately, the tanks weren’t close enough to the truck to explode.

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“Had it been any closer or we hadn’t caught it, our house would have just been done – it would have been one big hole,” Marchand-Jones said.

The Salmon Arm Fire Department and Salmon Arm RCMP arrived within seven minutes of the initial call and firefighters were quick to put out the blaze.

Later that morning, around 10 a.m., investigators came to the house to look into the cause of the fire.

Marchand-Jones is worried similar events could happen again.

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The only security cameras on the property are to keep an eye on horses in the barn, but Marchand-Jones says police are monitoring the property.

“It is something that has shaken everybody up, including the horses,” she said. “They were shaking – even when I went out around seven this morning to feed them they were shaking.

“It’s just really upsetting, especially in a small community like this because I feel uncomfortable in our home and I am of course concerned for the safety of the horses.”

While the mornings events were harrowing, Marchand-Jones said the support shown by the community has been incredible. So much so that a Facebook fundraiser has been set up to support the rescue.


@CameronJHT
Cameron.thomson@saobserver.net

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