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Fire fatality in Prince Rupert, second victim escapes

Fire Rescue crews were called to the early morning blaze on 7th Ave. East
Prince Rupert Fire Rescue crews were called to an early morning house fire on Dec. 23, in which one man died and another escaped. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

A Prince Rupert man died in an early morning residential blaze on Dec. 23, in the 600 block of 7th Ave. East, Prince Rupert Fire Rescue stated in a press release the same day.

Fire Rescue crews were dispatched to the house just before 3 a.m., where they found heavy fire coming from the top floor, Deputy Fire Chief Chad Cooper told The Northern View, adding early reports had indicated there was an occupant inside the home.

Upon arrival, fire crews met one of the occupants who had escaped the home and provided information about possibly where the second occupant was.

Ten firefighters attended the scene with three apparatus trucks. They concurrently made entry into the fire to perform the rescue while controlling the blaze, Cooper said.

“Any time you’re trying to simultaneously perform rescue and fire suppression [it can] delay the fire suppression because our primary objective is rescue mode.”

“One occupant had evacuated. However, firefighters were unable to immediately extricate a second occupant who was trapped inside the home. Once firefighters were able to remove the second occupant, they were pronounced deceased on the scene by the attending BC Emergency Health Services personnel,” the media statement reads.

One firefighter was treated for a minor muscle injury at the hospital and crews have been completing critical incident debriefing during the day.

Crews are coping with the incident, the deputy chief said, with situations like this always being difficult.

“We try to get there as fast we can. Unfortunately, we were unable to have a successful rescue,” he said, adding it has been a number of years since a fatality from a fire occurred in the city.

Fire crews had the blaze under control in less than 45 minutes and express thanks for the assistance of BC Ambulance and the Prince Rupert RCMP.

Next of kin has been notified and the identity of the male is not being released. The cause of the fire has been deemed to be accidental in nature and damage estimates are not yet known.

Prince Rupert RCMP extended condolences to the victim’s family and stated they are grateful for their partner agency’s work ensuring the fire didn’t spread.

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue expresses its sincere condolences to the affected family.

“I just want to commend the firefighters on the scene last night. They performed extremely well on the fire scene, given the difficult situation, which was highly, highly stressful. I also want to thank RCMP and local BC ambulance for attending the scene and providing support,” Cooper said.

“[We] would like to remind everyone during the holiday season that working smoke alarms save lives. Make sure that your smoke alarms are tested monthly and are less than ten years old,” PRFD states.