Two retired firefighters help control exterior fire in Powell River

Wildwood blaze extinguished with help from experienced residents

Once a firefighter, always a firefighter.

On November 8, around 2 pm, a couple of retired Powell River firefighters noticed an exterior house fire in a Wildwood neighbourhood and managed to stop it from doing extensive damage to the residence.

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According to fire chief Terry Peters, his father, Ray, a former fire captain with Powell River Fire Rescue, and Rinus Van’t Schip, another retired fire captain, were responsible for controlling a fire on Hillcrest Avenue. Terry said the two retired firefighters live literally doors away from each other, equidistant from the house that caught fire.

“I think it was Rinus’s wife who made the call when they saw the exterior of the house on fire,” said Terry. “I guess my dad just sprang into action. We always encourage people not to go beyond their comfort level because it’s very dangerous, but being the captain that he was, I guess he thought a garden hose was going to do some good for him, and quite frankly, it did.

“You can’t keep an old firefighter down, I guess.”

Terry said between his father and Van’t Schip, the two of them kept the flames at bay until city fire crews arrived. The fire was not completely out when the professional firefighters were on scene but it certainly kept it from getting worse, according to Terry.

“The crews knocked it down quickly and there was a happy ending and the people were in that home that night,” said Terry.

He said the fact that the neighbours were also able to sleep in their house that night was a success story.

Terry said there was virtually no damage inside of the structure.

He said there is a fine line where people should stand back or make an effort with a fire such as this.

“I would never encourage the public to take that extra step,” said Terry. “It’s like with a fire extinguisher. They are there for you to quickly get the fire out and get yourself into a safe position, but if it gets beyond the capability of a fire extinguisher or a garden hose, for that matter, you need to get out.

“Between my dad and Rinus, in this fire, they knew their capabilities and used the same tactics we would have used with the larger hoses we carry in our fire trucks,” said Terry. “For the most ability that they could do with a garden house, they actually used it quite well. It was a happy ending. Between the two of them, they did a good job.”

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