Fire ravages home in Bashaw

Two people are without a home in Bashaw following a fire caused in part by a storm

BY JORDIE DWYER AND JEFFREY HEYDEN-KAYE BASHAW STAR

The effects of a storm last week has a pair essentially homeless.

Ian Hansen and Kim March, along with three dogs and a cat, managed to escape after a blaze erupted in their home in the 4600 block of 50 Street in Bashaw.

In speaking with Bashaw Star, Ian said he was watching TV and Kim was taking a nap when he heard a loud bang. Upon inspection of the back porch, he saw a tree bending against a power line under the strength of the wind.

That tree eventually came down, the results of which Ian believes caused the rest of the issues in the home. Then he says he heard a loud bang from the breaker.

“Then all I could hear was a loud humming,” said Ian.

Fire started to engulf the breaker and then started making its way to the walls. In an effort to quell the flames, Ian says he started throwing water bottles on the breaker, an act, he says, which was quite risky. The flames would reduce for a bit, but then would start up again.

It turns out the power was still flowing to the home and there was no way to put out the flames. The Bashaw Fire Department (BFD) didn’t have much choice except to close the door and wait till the power could be turned off.

Ian says by closing the door, it took away the oxygen, which feeds the fire.

A contingent of 15 members of the BFD were called to the scene at 8:30 p.m. Crews were able to eventually extinguish the flames, but the entire interior of the structure was destroyed.

In speaking with the fire department, Ian says throwing water on the running electricity could have caused him an electrical shock. He says he feels lucky there wasn’t anything else that happened. “It was scary,” said Ian.

He added thanks go out to the department and EMS for helping ensure they were safe and received oxygen. The damage has basically destroyed the home.

“On the outside it looks kind of OK, but when you open it up…it’s not good,” explained Ian.

According to Deputy Fire Chief Jordan Lee, the fire was created by the aftereffects of the large thunderstorm and strong winds that came through Bashaw a short time earlier.

“The cause is suspected to be electrical due to the strong wind that blew down a few trees in town. One of those trees landed on a power line to the house,” Lee said.

“The house had lots of smoke damage and crews had to ventilate through all of the windows as well as the roof.”

Because of the location of the home, the fire department had assistance from the Bashaw RCMP in closing down one block in order to battle the blaze. The scene was wrapped up and crews headed back by 11:30 p.m.

Currently the couple and their pets are living in their 19-foot trailer in the yard. Due to being laid off in the winter, Ian had to make some tough decisions. “I had a choice. Do I pay my house insurance or do I pay my mortgage?”

He opted for the mortgage but is left without a way to pay for the damage. Community support has been strong with folks helping out where they can.

A GoFundMe page — www.gofundme.com/kim-ian-bashaw-house-fire-fund — has been started for the couple with a goal of raising $50,000. At press time over $1,300 had been raised.

A trust fund at Servus Credit Union has been put in place as well and folks are pulling together to get the pair pet food and other much needed supplies.

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