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Pile of burning sticks found behind CIBC in Salmon Arm

Fire chief thinks cause may have been an unhoused person trying to get warm
Salmon Arm Fire Department responds to a report of a brush fire behind the CIBC in Salmon Arm about 10 a.m. on Jan. 6, 2023. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)

The Salmon Arm Fire Department was called regarding a large brush fire downtown, but it turned out to be less ominous.

When firefighters arrived on scene behind the CIBC just off Hudson Avenue about 10 a.m. on Jan. 6, they found a pile of burned sticks and branches that had been extinguished with snow by a passerby. It was at the back of the building in a stairwell adjacent to the laneway and the Ross Street parking lot.

Fire Chief Brad Shirley said he thought it was likely the work of a person without a home who was trying to get warm.

A second fire near a dumpster had also been extinguished.

No damage or injuries were reported and the fire department was on scene for less than half an hour.

BC Housing announced on Dec. 19 it had secured a four-month lease for an emergency shelter in Salmon Arm, and said it was expected to open in early January. No official statement has been provided on the site yet.

Meanwhile, on Dec. 20 a concerned citizen brought in an insulated sea can for people who are living rough. It is open daily from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.

The Salvation Army had previously set up a warming centre in the former Lighthouse Emergency Shelter building, the Café at the Lighthouse, that’s available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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