Fire crews from Agassiz

Bystanders bring down backyard blaze

Fire crews from Agassiz, Seabird and Popkum responded to the structure fire call-out Feb. 18.

A backyard blaze brought 23 firefighters from three departments to a house at Morrow Road Wednesday, Feb. 18. But by the time crews arrived, the blaze was mostly out thanks to quick action by a nearby construction crew.

The electrical fire started in a makeshift dog shelter at the side of the house. The shelter contained a heater connected to a faulty extension cord which caught fire. The dog was reportedly OK though badly shaken after the incident.

Bert Vanbasten, Rob Doran and Richmond Wright were working on a new row of townhouses across the street. Doran and Vanbasten were out front when they looked over and saw smoke coming from out back of the house.

“We have a fire hose on site,” explains Vanbasten. “We grabbed it and some extra hoses and ran across.”

Wright and Doran thought they heard children inside the house so they quickly ran inside while Vanbasten worked on the fire, which had gone from the faulty cord and made its way into the soffits.

“We bolted into the house,” says Wright. “We went around the house, checking under the beds.”

The men laugh when suggested they are heroes. Wright, Doran and Vanbasten assure The Observer this is something anyone would do. But Agassiz Fire Chief Wayne Dyer says it was their quick action that put out the fire and kudos goes to them.

Crews were called out to assist from Seabird Island and Popkum, a common practice for structure fires. Dyer urges residents to be wary of electrical cords and try not to put anything on top of them as they can wear down and cause a failure.