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One person hurt in Nelson heritage home fire

One person has been airlifted to hospital in Vancouver after a house fire in Nelson Wednesday morning.

The fire at a two-storey home on Front Street (Highway 3A), between William and Poplar Streets, started around 8 a.m.

In an interview with Vista Radio, Nelson Fire and Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Hebert says they received numerous 911 calls and were fortunate to have plenty of manpower on hand because it was shift change.

“We had our off-coming crew and our on-coming crew already in the station so we were able to respond with four members and an engine, plus the chief, and then we called in all our off-duty staff,” Hebert said.

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He says they were also lucky the hydrant outside the home had been shovelled out the day before. “The fire hydrant was right in front of the house, it was perfect. The exposure house was only about three feet apart and there was no damage to that house and we were able to get a fairly quick knockdown (of the fire).”

A man, who was the only person inside the house at the time, was removed from the building and taken to hospital. Hebert believes he’s since been airlifted to a Vancouver hospital. Four people lived in the home but the man was the only one there, the deputy chief said.

During the fire, firefighters had to be careful working around the outside house because roughly 3 feet (0.9 meters) of snow was sitting on the high-pitched metal roof.

“We definitely had to keep our distances from the outside of the building on the eave ends because we didn’t want to have hundreds or thousands of pounds of snow sliding off a metal roof because (it) just got warmed up from the inside by a structure fire, you never know when those things are going to slide,” Hebert said.

He says the fire appears to have start on the main floor toward the back of the building.

Three fire investigators with the City of Nelson were on the scene this afternoon and will likely be back tomorrow searching for the cause. Representatives from the insurance companies are expected to be there too.

With another dumping of snow possibly this weekend, the assistant chief says this fire shows how important it is to have your hydrant cleared near your home.

“We just need everybody to keep their eyes open for fire hydrants and if they have the time then absolutely grab a shovel and shovel out a path from the street and about a one meter (3.2 feet) working distance all away around the hydrant so we can attach the hose to it. That helps us out. We’re out there as well, (Nelson) public works is out there as well.”

“I know there’s a couple of citizens in the City of Nelson who’ve cleared numerous hydrants on their own. The old adage, many hands make light work, so if everyone can do some, we can get it done.”

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