Chestermere Fire Services responded to a house fire in The Cove on June 7 at about 3:30 after a boater called 911 to report seeing smoke coming from one of the lakeshore houses.
“We were able to get a good start on the fire, even with the significant damage that was done to the home, we were able to limit the fire spread to the home,” said Chestermere Fire Services Chief Brian Pomrenke.
He credits the quick response thanks to the early reporting of the fire to the success in limiting the spread of the fire.
“We had a boater that was on the lake that made the initial 911 call and they said there was heavy volumes of smoke coming out the back of the home,” said Pomrenke.
When crews arrived in scene the scene was upgraded to a working structure fire.
“It was quite obvious what was happening within the home from what we could see when we pulled up on scene,” he said.
With the confirmed fire, additional fire crews were called in to support the firefighting efforts.
In addition to making the initial call, the boater docked his boat and came ashore to help warn people of the fire.
“They helped run to the neighbours to see if anybody was home to try and get them aware that they may have to be evacuated,” said Pomrenke.
Fire crews were able to confirm that the family was not home at the time of the fire.
The family dog unfortunately was and succumbed to the heat and smoke from the fire.
No one else was injured in the fire.
“We had crews get inside and validate that nobody was hurt,” said Pomrenke.
A post to the Facebook page I Love Chestermere that shared a GoFundMe page set up for the family confirmed that home belonged to Chestermere City Councillor Yvette Wagner.
It took fire crews from Chestermere, Langdon and Balzac about an hour to get the fire under control.
“We had the fire knocked down and under control in just under an hour,” said Pomrenke.
With the quick response, fire crews were able to prevent the fire from spreading to the roof of the house, which would have increased the possibility of the fire spreading to adjacent homes.
“Here’s where timing means everything,” he said, “the sooner you can get water on it you can get ahead of it.”
The main structure of the home is intact but Pomrenke said that the interior of the home suffered significant damage.
“Internally there’s heavy damage to the kitchen, and the second-floor area,” he said.
“And with a fire burning as long as it did within the home there’s significant heat and smoke and fire damage and some water damage from the firefighting efforts as well,” said Pomrenke.
Along with the early detection and response, Pomrenke said that the fact that there were closed doors in the room help to slow the spread of the fire.
“In this case those closed doors played a significant role in limiting that spread of fire,” he said.
Once the fire was put out, investigators were able to start looking for the source of the blaze.
While they can’t yet pin point the cause, they have been able to isolate where the fire started.
“From what we can tell thus far in our preliminary portions of our investigation is that it started in the kitchen area,” said Pomrenke.
Along with the good work of all of the responding fire crews, Pomrenke said that the response from the community was incredible.
“I really want to put out a huge thank you to the neighbours that came to aid of the homeowners,” he said.
“In my years of firefighting I don’t believe I can recall a sense of community and neighbours truly demonstrating that sense of community supporting that family,” he said.
In addition to the immediate response and support, a GoFundMe page was created to help the family.
To support the GoFundMe page set up to help the Wagner family go to www.gofundme.com/yvette-kind-wagner.