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Emerald and Alpine House Fires

Emerald Estates Fire
Whistler firefighters wait for water for their hoses as the house burns.
Saturday, I woke up suddenly at 6:30 in the morning. It took me a minute to realize that a fire truck had just gone past my bedroom with it’s lights and sirens going full blast. I jumped out of bed and tuned in my radio scanner to the fire department frequency, and found that there was a huge fire just around the corner from my house. Listening to radio scanners is a bit of an art, but that morning I could hear real alarm in the voices of the firefighters.

The temperature overnight had been below -20 degrees celsius, and it was still -17 or -18 outside. The nearby fire hydrants had frozen overnight, and the firefighters couldn’t get them to work. While they were dealing with the hydrants, I walked up to the side of the house. I met a friend of mine, fire captain Al Eaton, who was still waiting for water for his hose, and we just sat there for a minute watching the house burn. Another two fire fighters tried to get in through a side door, but the smoke in the house was … Read the rest