Castlegar firefighters made short work of a wildfire at the base of a power pole today.
Chief Sam Lattanzio says the fire broke out at the corner of 14th Avenue and Highway 3, near Castleview Care Centre, as a result of this afternoon’s windstorm.
He says it knocked some trees along Parklane Drive onto a power line, and in turn caused the system to surge, which tripped a fuse on the pole. However, Lattanzio says he assumes the surge resulted in some sparks that started the fire.
Witnesses reported hearing a bang or explosion and power went out to part of the neighbourhood. FortisBC crews responded along with the fire department.
Lattanzio says the fire grew to about 10 by 15 feet (three by four and a half metres) and was contained largely because of “quick thinking Good Samaritans.”
One witness called them directly at the fire hall, bypassing 911, and took action on the fire along with a few other members of the public.
“The key part was before they did anything they made sure no power lines were down,” Lattanzio says. “I have to stress that if you see lines down, don’t assume they’re dead.”
He said while the fire was minor, if it had occurred in the middle of August, it could have been a different story. It occurred in the same area that was evacuated around this time last year due to the Merry Creek wildfire.