Rural fire officials examining weekend blazes

Rimbey firefighters are dealing with the aftermath of two blazes that kept crews hopping on the weekend.

Rimbey firefighters are dealing with the aftermath of two blazes that kept crews hopping on the weekend.

Inspectors are still trying to determine the cause of a fire that destroyed a house near Gull Lake just after midnight on Saturday morning.

The fire that started in a vacant home just after midnight was hard to put out, said Rimbey fire chief John Weisgerber.

As the residence had a crawl space instead of a basement, “I couldn’t send anyone in there,” added Weisgerber, who noted the fire was brought under control quickly, but the final embers were not doused until 7 a.m.

Nobody was living in the home in the Parkland Beach area when the fire broke out. Weisgerber said the home owners had been occupying the residence all year but had recently moved into town for the winter.

Neighbours spotted the fire and called 911.

About eight Rimbey firefighters responded and were assisted by a fire crew from Bentley, who brought an additional water tanker truck.

According to a witness, a next-door neighbour turned a garden hose on the blaze after watering down the side of his own house, to keep it from catching fire. Weisgerber said some of the siding on the house next door suffered heat damage.

Insurance adjustors were assessing damage to the burned-out home today, as fire inspectors tried to find a cause. Weisgerber, who hasn’t completed the damage estimate yet, guesses the fire started inside a wall but this has yet to be determined.

A second fire that took Rimbey firefighters out to the Bluffton-Hoadley area a few hours later started on the roof of another house at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday.

That fire, northwest of Rimbey and off Secondary Hwy 422, was determined to have started in the chimney of the farm house, said Weisberger.

A young family was in the dwelling when the blaze started but all three people got out safely. The fire chief wasn’t sure whether a fire alarm went off.

That fire was extinguished by eight to 10 Rimbey firefighters, with assistance from a fire crew from Ponoka County.

Weisgerber, who doesn’t have a damage estimate yet, believes the displaced family is staying with relatives.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

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