Two Keremeos police officers were taken to hospital with smoke inhalation after checking a home that had caught fire for occupants in Cawston Monday afternoon.
Cpl. Kat Thain said the officers were first on scene at the structure fire on Stewart Road a few properties east of Cawston Cold Storage.
The officers knocked on the door to see if anyone was inside and then pulled their flashlights out entered the residence to visually check.
The tenant at the home was out riding his bike when the fire broke out.
“You don’t know if a life is at risk and you don’t know how long it’s been burning for,” Thain said.
The officers were taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.
Firefighters concentrated efforts at the back of the home where it was visibly burned from the outside. Windows were also knocked out to help with ventilation along with a
hole put in attic at the side of the house.
An ancillary building also caught fire and was smouldering Monday afternoon.
The fire broke out sometime before 12:30 p.m. a neighbour said on scene.
“I heard something that sounded like it was on our roof,” the neighbour said. “I looked outside. It was strange. I saw flames shooting out of the car and from a bit of the roof. It was very weird.”
The neighbour was told on the scene that it was most likely the tires of the car parked close to the back of the home that had exploded.
Jordy Bosscha, fire chief for Keremeos said the old home had sawdust in the walls for insulation and it was causing a challenge for firefighters to put out.
As a precaution several members of his crew took cool day breaks while fighting the fire during the 28C heat.
About nine firefighters from the Keremeos detachment fought the fire.
“We’re short of members. We had six respond for the call out and three others show up,” he said.
Backup from Osoyoos arrived on scene around 2 p.m.
Efforts to put out the fire were helped by a water hookup put in during the Cawston Cold Storage upgrades.
“A big thank you to them for that. We’re so glad they had the foresight to put that in,” Bosscha said.
Firefighters would have either had to go to Ginty’s Pond or a hookup on Upper Bench to replenish water to fight the fire.