Citizens save the day

They don't have an official fire department, but residents of Paul Lake near Kamloops have each other.

A spontaneous response by 30 residents early Monday not only saved the day, but the forest as well.

Resident Ed Lund said strong winds knocked power lines onto an outbuilding, which caught fire about 12:30 a.m.

The flames melted phone lines, cutting off calls for help.

“I was told the telephone poles are too old and the Telus contractors are not allowed to climb them, so the lines are only as high as their ladders can go, which is not very high,” said Lund, adding Paul Lake has a fan-out system in which one person calls two people, they call two, and so on.

“Halfway through the call out, the phones went dead because the lines melted,” said Lund.

While he headed to the fire with a trailer carrying water pumps, his wife drove door to door, summoning help.

“Within 20 minutes, we had six lines charged and water on the flames.”

Lund said when he first arrived, "trees were candling. It was scary.”

Lund said the community purchased the 20-horsepower pumps last year, and they saved the day.

By the time BC Wildfire crews arrived, the residents had the flames knocked down.

The fire flared up again later that morning, but Lund said charged lines were left in place, and the hot spots were quickly knocked down.


2 new human-caused fires

Two new human-caused fires are burning today in the Kamloops Fire Centre.

Both were discovered within the past 24 hours.

The Paul Lake Road fire is burning about 15 kilometres northeast of the city. It is measured at 0.10 hectares in size. A second fire, northeast of Sun Peaks, in the Blucher Hall area, is 0.01 hectares in size.

The BC Wildfire Service is aware of both small fires.

The latest fires bring the number of fires that have started in the Kamloops Fire Centre to 179 this season. More than 128,000 hectares of timber have been burned within the region.

Three lightning-caused fires have flared up in the Southeast Fire Centre, while a sixth fire, on Vancouver Island, was also human caused.

In all, 1,017 fires have started in the province since April 1, burning 729,672 hectares of forest.

Who left grenade on road?

UPDATE: Monday 11:45 a.m.

Police in Kamloops are looking for someone who left a grenade on a public road.

On Sunday, RCMP were notified that a smoke grenade had been left on Grandview Terrace, near Columbia Street West. 

Police found the grenade had been activated, but failed to ignite, so it was treated as live ordnance and the area cordoned off. The RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit safely disposed of the grenade. 

It's not known where the grenade originated.

Police are asking for the public’s assistance in where it came from. Anyone with information is asked to call Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

ORIGINAL: Sunday 6 p.m.

A resident of the Kamloops reported finding a grenade in the area.

The citizen stumbled across what may possibly have been a military smoke grenade at 11:09 a.m. on Sunday morning, at the intersection of Grandview Terrace and Columbia St. W. 

Kamloops RCMP treated it as a live ordnance and closed off the area. The Grandview terrace did not reopen to the public until 5:10 p.m. Sunday evening. 

E Division RCMP Explosive Demolition Unit was contacted and attended the scene to secure the device, according to Sgt. Edward Preto, Kamloops RCMP. 

The device that was found has been secured by the RCMP EDU. 


House fire suspicious

Police are calling a fire at a vacant home in Kamloops suspicious.

About 4 a.m., Saturday, RCMP were called to a residence on the 300 block of Maple Street, where firefighters had just extinguished a fire. 

The home was vacant at the time, and both the residence and garage were heavily damaged.

Investigators remain on scene this morning, examining the fire pattern, collecting evidence and trying to establish the cause of the blaze. 

Savona crash fatal

UPDATE: 10:45 p.m.

Kamloops RCMP confirm a two-vehicle collision on the Trans-Canada Highway at Savona Friday afternoon was a fatality. 

An eastbound Ford crossed the centre line and collided head on with a westbound Mazda. 

The driver and lone occupant of the Ford, from the Cariboo region, died at the scene.

The driver and lone occupant of the Mazda, from the Savona area, was airlifted to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops.

RCMP and the BC Coroners Service continue to investigate what may have caused the crash. 

Witnesses are asked to call Central Interior Traffic Services in Kamloops at 250-828-3159. 

ORIGINAL: 5 p.m.

A serious crash has closed the Trans-Canada Highway west of Kamloops.

The highway is closed one kilometre east of Savona for what is reportedly a head-on collision.

RCMP advise the highway will remain closed in both directions until further notice.
A detour is available through the village of Savona, but motorists should expects delays. 
Use an alternative route around the area if possible. 

Send your news, photos and video to news@castanet.net

Body found in hotel

A man was found dead in a Kamloops hotel room Thursday morning.

Hotel staff on West Columbia Street found the young man in one of the rooms just before 9 a.m. and notified police.

RCMP says it's too early in their investigation to determine if the death is suspicious, but they have “tentatively” identified the man.

Witness chases crash driver

A witness chased down a driver involved in an overnight crash in Kamloops.

About 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, RCMP responded to the two-vehicle collision at 4th Avenue and Seymour Street.

Sgt. Sascha Fesenko said one of the drivers ran away from the scene and was chased by a witness until arrested by police. 

The driver of the second vehicle remained at the scene. 

Both drivers had consumed liquor and received minor injuries in the crash. 

The vehicles sustained significant damage, along with a parking meter pay station. 

Rec. facilities to stay open

Due to the unprecedented heat and poor air quality, the City of Kamloops is keeping some recreation centres open through the long weekend.

The Tournament Capital Centre and the Canada Games Aquatic Centre will be open on the statutory holiday - Monday, Aug. 7 - from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre will also be open on Monday and is offering a free skate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. This free public skate event is sponsored by Tim Hortons, with free drinks and Timbits provided from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Music in the Park will continue to take place on a nightly basis, but acts could be cancelled at the discretion of the organizers if conditions are deemed unsuitable.

The City will attempt to provide as much advance notice as possible.

Provincial guidelines recommend that the at-risk population avoid strenuous outdoor activities. Children and the elderly should also avoid outdoor physical exertion. 

Air quality off the charts

UPDATE 3:30 p.m.

The air quality rating in Kamloops and continued to skyrocket in the wrong direction. As of 3 p.m., it was measured at 49 out of 10.

ORGINAL 1:15 p.m.

Nearly the entire southern half of British Columbia remains under air quality advisories due to wildfire smoke, but no city has been hit as hard as Kamloops.

As of 12 p.m. Thursday, the air quality rating in Kamloops was pegged at 24, on a scale out of 10.

For context, current ratings in the Okanagan Valley are in the range of four and five.

It is expected that things will improve in Kamloops somewhat tonight and tomorrow, with ratings of seven and eight expected.

Radio NL is reporting that Environment Canada expected the poor air quality to stick around for at least a week.

Info meeting for evacuees

An information meeting will be held, Friday, Aug. 4, at 5 p.m., at the Sagebrush Theatre in Kamloops for those affected by the Elephant Hill wildfire.

Residents from the communities of Loon Lake, Clinton, 70 Mile, South Green Lake, and surrounding rural areas, are invited to attend.

The meeting starts at 5 p.m., but doors will open at 4 p.m.

A bus leaving the Sandman Centre at 4:15 p.m. to take people to the theatre, 1300 9th Ave.

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