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House fire quickly quelled in Athabasca

Area fire departments were training nearby and left to fight the blaze

ATHABASCA – A house fire that broke out July 12 across the street from the Alice B. Donahue Library and Archives on 48 Street in Athabasca is thought to have started in the attic, says Athabasca fire chief Travis Shalapay. 

No one was home at the time of the fire and because the Athabasca County Fire Services (ACFS) were holding a joint training exercise, ACFS members from Wandering River, Grassland, Rochester and Colinton were quickly able to help their Athabasca colleagues fight the blaze. 

“At the time of the fire a joint training exercise was occurring at the Athabasca County Fire Service (ACFS) Training Facility located at the Athabasca Airport. Athabasca members attending this training quickly jumped into action and were on-scene within nine minutes of the dispatch with a second town engine arriving four minutes later,” Shalapay said. 

Shalapay said the call came in at 11:25 a.m. and the Colinton Fire Department sent an engine to assist the first two. He added the fire is not suspicious and an investigation is ongoing. 

“We don't have a cause yet. The fire’s not suspicious, but we are conducting an investigation right now,” Shalapay said.  

The homeowner, who asked not to be identified, said there were renovations taking place and no one was home, but Shalapay noted that the renovations may not be the cause of the fire. 

“Right now, we don’t want to get into supposition; it appears it originated in the attic,” he said. 

The houses on either side were kept safe from the fire with one receiving minor damage from the heat. 

“One house had minor, minor damage to its vinyl siding just from the radiant heat but otherwise that house was not significantly damaged at all,” Shalapay said. 

The fire department was on scene until 11:30 p.m. when it was turned over to a fire watch provided by the insurance company he said, adding a thank you to the fire fighters attending the training who jumped in to help get the fire under control quickly. 

"The Athabasca Fire Department would like to thank Colinton Fire for their mutual aid support as well as the ACFS members from Wandering River, Grassland, Rochester and Colinton who also disengaged from the training to assist the town members with their suppression efforts.” 

Heather Stocking,
Follow me on Twitter @HLSox

Heather Stocking

About the Author: Heather Stocking

Heather Stocking a reporter at the Athabasca Advocate, a weekly paper in Northern Alberta. Heather covers all aspects of the news in and around Athabasca and Boyle as well as other small communities.
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