Princeton volunteer firefighters extinguished the grass fire near Highway 5A before building a soft guard perimeter. They worked around a tarped body carefully, so as not to interfere with the scene. Photo Credit Andrea DeMeer

Small town firefighters rise above stress at grisly scene

“We were not informed there was a body there. We were informed there was a grass fire.”

When Princeton volunteer firefighters responded last Thursday to grass and car blazes near the airport, containment and the threat of a spreading wildfire were the only things on their minds.

They were not aware there was a body on the ground.

“They just came across it,” said chief Rob Banks. “We were not informed there was a body there. We were informed there was a grass fire.”

The discovery could not distract the first responders from their priority – which was to extinguish three separate spot fires before they jumped Highway 5A and moved into the valley.

“Fires like that, there was wind that day, can spread very quickly,” said Banks. “You have to look at what is going on in the province.”

Firefighters were tasked with dousing the flames while staying away from the body as much as possible so as to not disturb the scene.

Related: Man dies of burns and self-inflicted wounds in bizarre public death

RCMP and other first responders were unable to get to the dead man until the fire was out.

Later police determined the 30-year-old victim, whose identity was not released, died of burns and self-inflicted wounds. The grass fire was ignited when the man ran from his burning car and fell to the ground.

Following the events last week a post-traumatic stress and critical incident worker was called in to speak with volunteer firefighters.

Banks said that is the second time such a call has been necessary during his time with the department. Approximately 10 years ago help was sought after a fire killed two local residents.

It’s regrettable, he added, that this death was witnessed by so many people.

“It brings it into the public and the public doesn’t need to see that. Nobody needs to see that.”

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Woman brings mortar round to Shuswap RCMP detachment

Chase officers contact the Canadian Forces to dispose of the suspected explosive device

Dancing with Shuswap Stars attracts Rust Valley Restorers

TV show stars join quest to hone some fancy footwork

Sicamous officials optimistic in the face of Waterway Houseboats closure

Mayor and chamber of commerce concerned for staff who lost jobs

Open house to reveal proposed changes to Balmoral intersection on Trans-Canada Highway

The South Shuswap Chamber of Commerce has already provided input to the ministry

Salmon Arm residents learn how to protect properties from wildfire

Removing debris from forest floor can help stop fires from spreading

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Man arrested during Kelowna police stand off

Water is flooding Highway 33 in Kelowna Monday afternoon

Judas Priest rocks the Okanagan

Judas Priest is on a 32 date tour of North America

Victoria mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of coroners inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Restrictive policies affecting labour mobility for care aides in B.C.

‘I had to take two competency exams and pay over $1,400,’ said an Okanagan care aide

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Most Read