SUNDRE — No one was harmed early last week when a raging inferno deemed as suspicious in nature by authorities burnt to the ground two structures on a rural acreage northeast of town.
“The origin of the fire is being treated as suspicious,” reads a portion of a press release issued on Thursday, Sept. 15 by the Sundre RCMP detachment.
The Sundre Fire Department received the call at 2:02 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 12, with the first responder arriving at the scene being fire Chief Ross Clews.
“I’ve got all my kit in the [command] truck. So, I respond straight from wherever I am,” Clews told the Albertan during a follow-up interview, adding his department soon afterward also had a pumper and a tender on scene.
And as per standard mutual aid agreement protocols, the Olds Fire Department also dispatched some of their members who brought out an additional pumper and tender, he said.
“We responded with three units, Olds responded with two,” he said. “We were able to get a water source close to the location so we didn’t have to come back to town or anything to fill up the tenders.”
As the buildings – a home and a detached garage – were totally engulfed by flames when Clews arrived, the chief said he directed firefighters to take up a defensive stance against the fire.
“There wasn’t nothing there to save by the time it was called in,” he said.
So, firefighters ensured the blaze wasn’t about to spread any further.
“It was defensive attack,” he said. “We contained the fire to the two structures and then we extinguished the fire.”
Nobody was injured and the owner was not present.
“No one responsible for the property was on scene,” said Clews, adding, “The fire was called in by neighbours.”
Sundre firefighters were back in hall and ready for service by 9:22 p.m., he said.
Although the fire did not end up reigniting, Sundre firefighters returned to the scene the following morning to ensure hot spots were all snuffed out.
“(The fire) was extinguished, (but) there was a little smouldering going on,” he said, adding a bush truck was sent in to ensure the fire did not flare up again.
Asked where the fire might be believed to have originated, Clews said he could not comment as the buildings were fully involved when he arrived and that a fire investigator had been brought in to work alongside police.
“We turned the scene over to them when we left,” he said.
For the firefighters’ part, Clews said it was a textbook response.
“Sundre and Olds crews worked very well together to contain and extinguish the fire,” he said.
As always, Clews expressed gratitude for the prompt response from their mutual aid partners in Olds.
The Sundre RCMP detachment said the fire was at a Mountain View County acreage along Range Road 43.
“Upon arrival, two structures – a home and a detached garage – were engulfed in flames,” police reported, adding fire crews successfully extinguished the fire and prevented the flames from spreading any further and threatening nearby wooded areas and neighbouring properties.
“Both structures were completely destroyed.”
Mounties said a fire scene investigator has been brought in to provide assistance with the investigation.
Information about this incident can be reported to the Sundre RCMP at 403-638-3675. Anyone who prefers to remain anonymous is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or alternatively submit information online at either www.P3Tips.com or by using the “P3 Tips” app that is available through the Apple App or Google Play Store.