Fire at seniors' home quickly contained

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
November 23rd, 2010

A fire this afternoon at Rota Villa retirement home in the 700 block of Valhalla Street was minor and quickly extinguished, according to Castlegar Fire Chief Gerry Rempel.

Rempel said the call came in at 4:23 p.m.

“A person was moving into one of the units, and it looks like some of the cardboard boxes were piled on the stove,” he said. “A burner was inadvertently turned on, which started the fire …at least, it appears that way at this time.”

Rempel estimates the damages at about $5,000, and said things could’ve been far worse, given the advanced ages of many residents and the inclement weather outside.

He said a fire alarm did go off, but residents were not evacuated, as the fire was contained in a single room of one unit, and was rapidly put out. Had there been more smoke, the fire department may have faced a more difficult decision – whether the potential harm of elderly residents waiting outside in the cold would be outweighed by the dangers of smoke inhalation.

Thankfully, no such judgment call had to be made today, and no one was injured.

“There’s a lot of grey areas like that in our business,” Rempel said. “I’m just glad it all turned out so well – there isn’t even anyone living in the unit yet, so the consequences are minimal.”


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