Three sheep were killed in a fire that destroyed a barn and damaged an adjacent greenhouse in Langley Township last week.
Fire crews were called out to the 4100 block of 240th Street on Wednesday afternoon just before 5 p.m.
Pat Walker, Township assistant fire chief, said the crews were on scene in a matter of minutes due to a coincidence.
“They were actually just coming down the road,” Walker said of the first truck on scene.
The truck had been out in Aldergrove dropping off supplies and was on scene within four minutes. He noticed the fire as well.
“I was just going home at the time of the fire and noticed it in the air,” he said.
In all, about 40 firefighters and 13 trucks were required.
“When they got there on scene, there was heavy flame and smoke showing from the front of the structure and one side,” Walker said.
Walker said the fire appears to have started in an exterior drop box and spread to the interior of the barn, causing the roof to collapse.
“It wasn’t a heater,” Walker said.
Three sheep died in the fire, but the remains were not discovered until an excavator was brought in to remove the collapsed roof of the barn.
“It wasn’t safe to go in,” Walker said.
Heat from the barn fire caused the blaze to move to the greenhouse, which was damaged but repairable.
“The barn is a write-off,” Walker said of the building , constructed of wood with steel and wood beams, steel cladding and a steel roof.
Crews had to ferry water from a few kilometres away. The department was on scene until about 9:30 p.m. because the building lost some structural integrity and heavy equipment was ordered to allow them to get to any hot spots.
The recent heavy snowfall and colder temperatures make firefighting more difficult.
“These are extreme conditions,” he explained. “We’ve got multiple things to deal with. Of course we’re spraying water, then we’ve got typical hypothermia conditions for our firefighters. [Some] have bunker gear on, there’s extreme heat, they’re pulling hoses, they’re working really hard [and getting overheated].”
Another weather-related fire
The Township fire crews were called out to a house fire on Feb. 9.
“We’ve actually had one up on 56th [Avenue] and 247th [Street] on Saturday,” Walker said.
The home ended up with about $240,000 in damage.
“The back deck of the house got burned off. The fire migrated up the side wall of the home and into the attic space,” he said.
A heater is believed to be the cause.
Warning in the cold
“Just a suggestion that people take a real hard look at how they are using portable heaters,” Walker said.
Heaters, no matter the type, need to be used in certain ways.
“It’s really crucial they are on a stable surface and any combustibles are at least three feet away from the heater and that they’re not plugged into extension cords and power bars,” he added.
Key is keeping anything away from the heater.
“You want to make sure that you have that three-foot radius,” Walker said
He added that people want to be careful with how they plug in heaters which used a great deal of electricity.
“They pull a lot, that’s why you don’t want them plugged into power bars… or extension cords,” he explained. “You can get into some overheating and current problems.”