LETTER: Local efforts appreciated after Hemlock fire

North Fraser firefighters and community volunteers assisted during Nov. 6 blaze

On the evening of Nov. 6th at about 11 p.m. a fire broke out in a duplex structure in the village at Hemlock Valley. Volunteer firefighters living in the village responded and additional manpower and equipment was dispatched from neighbouring fire departments.

At the height of the fire, two duplexes plus a large single-family cabin were fully ablaze and neighbouring homes were threatened. In addition to the Hemlock Valley Volunteer Fire Department, firefighters and equipment were on the scene from North Fraser Fire Department, Agassiz Fire Department and even some from Chilliwack River Valley Volunteer Fire Department made the long trek to assist. In all 29 firefighters and seven pieces of firefighting apparatus were on scene along with the B.C. Ambulance Service and the RCMP.

When the fire was extinguished, the duplexes and cabin were completely destroyed, and two neighbouring cabins suffered damage. The Hemlock Valley Homeowners Association (HVHA) extends sincere condolences to those who suffered losses in this tragic event.

Miraculously, two other neighbouring duplex cabins were saved from damage. It is thought that had either of those been ignited, the whole block of homes could have been lost. It was only by the supreme efforts of the firefighters that these structures were saved.

Only one permanent resident was displaced during this event and with the assistance of family, the local Emergency Social Services, local residents, the HVHA and a number of generous residents from the Deroche, Harrison Mills and Lake Errock communities, she has found a new place to live at Hemlock and been able to start to put her life back together.

The HVHA and those whose homes were spared wish to express their appreciation to all the volunteer firefighters who participated in the firefighting efforts and to those who stayed on site for the following days to suppress hot spots that continued to reignite. Thanks also goes to the support people who assisted by bringing coffee, food and whatever was needed by those on the front lines, and to those fire department members and community volunteers who spend hours afterwards to clean and put firefighting equipment back where it belongs so they are ready to respond to the next emergency.

Your dedication is appreciated.

Hemlock Valley Homeowners Association