Coquitlam Fire Rescue is warning residents living near forests to guard against fire as the risk rating jumped to high on the weekend.
This comes as the city — and much of southwestern B.C. — are under an extreme hot weather warning with temperatures expected to hit 42C this afternoon (June 28).
Schools are already closed and some businesses have shuttered due to the extreme heat.
Fire Chief Jim Ogloff told the Tri-City News that his department saw double the amount of calls on the weekend, with people showing symptoms that could be related to hot temperatures.
Among the calls this weekend were people complaining of difficulty breathing, chest pains and cardiac arrest.
“It’s really hot. Some [people] who are physically hot are presenting these symptoms; we’re seeing those types of calls,” Ogloff said.
Firefighters are also feeling the effects of the heat: Ogloff said crews had to take extra precautions when fighting a blaze in the 1200-block of Nestor Street, in the New Horizons neighbourhood.
NESTOR STREET FIRE DRAWS 21 COQUITLAM FIREFIGHTERS
The call came in at about 10:30 p.m. last Saturday (June 26).
Fortunately, a number of nearby residents made the 911 call when they saw the smoke, and 21 firefighters and a supervisor doused the blaze in about half an hour.
Everyone got out and no one was injured, Ogloff said, and the cause of the blaze has yet to be determined, although investigators are on site today (Monday).
The quick response enabled the firefighters to keep the fire from spreading, he said.
However, extra precautions had to be taken to keep crews from suffering from heat exhaustion as they had to put out the fire wearing 50 to 70 pounds of personal protection and fire suppression equipment.
Ogloff said it wasn’t as hot as earlier in the day, but it was important to circulate crews and keep them hydrated.
A resident who took photos of the blaze expressed thanks to Coquitlam Fire Rescue for their quick response.
“Kudos to the first responders! A very difficult time for the fire,” Ben Turner told the Tri-City News.
The blaze was contained mostly to a garage, Ogloff said.
Meanwhile, people are encouraged to take extra precautions to stay safe and prevent fires during this extreme heat.
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