From now on she’ll be taking her turnout gear with her everywhere.
Emma Merritt, a five-year Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department member, happened to be in the right place at the right time to use her firefighter training to help another community.
The 21-year-old was in Coalmont over the weekend staying with friends when she was awoken Sunday morning to a massive fire burning a few blocks over.
“I woke to an RV on fire about two blocks over. Basically everyone from Coalmont came out and started walking towards the smoke. Myself and my friend’s husband saw the flames and immediately called Fortis,” she said.
It was a good thing they did because it wouldn’t be long before the fire caused the power lines to fall down.
By the time that happened, Fortis was already on-site working to get the hydro shut off to the area.
The motor home exploded into flames Sunday morning around 8 a.m. on Front Street in the tiny community.
The Tulameeen Volunteer Fire Department was quick to respond, Emma said. The blaze was under control within 30 minutes.
The cause of the fire is under investigation and no injuries were reported.
The community was on edge over the weekend with the Princeton area wildfire still in mop up stage, persisting extreme dry conditions, and about 4,000 visitors taking part in Tulameen Days.
Merritt was in the right place again when a garage fire broke out around 2:30 p.m. on Monday – this time in Princeton.
The Keremeos department was called out to help with mutual aid on the fire in the Allison Flats area.
Merritt met her department on the way to the fire.
“We helped them with mop up and rolled the hose and everything,” she said.
The crew that attended for Keremeos was on scene for about five hours.
The owner of the property told Black Press and the police that he thought the blaze was started by tools in his garage.
He was using a grinder earlier in the afternoon, he said.
Although a busy weekend, Merritt said it was a positive experience working with firefighters in another community. She spent time talking to firefighters from Coquitlam who have homes in Tulameen and volunteer for the department on weekends when they are in the area.
“It was good to get to know some of the people,” she said.
Merritt joined the Keremeos department in 2011 as a high school firefighter.
“This is really good to see and we’re really proud of her,” said Jordy Bosscha chief of the Keremeos department.
Merritt said she plans to keep packing her turnout gear in case she can help with other fires or incidents in the future.
“I think I’ll be taking it with me when I go out of town from now on,” she said. “The department is definitely for people who just want to help others out that’s the biggest thing.”