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REPORTING · 14th January 2016
Walter McFarlane
On January 12th, the Kitimat Fire Department was called out around 10:30 am to a house fire at 20 Hallman Street.

“It originally came in as a boat fire,” said Fire Chief Trent Bossence. “When crews arrived on scene, it was a little bit more than a boat fire. The initial reports were that the fire originated in a boat that was parked in a carport adjacent to the house.”

The fire spread into the residence through a window and up into the attic. The occupants were not home at the time but there were two pets.

“One pet was found outside the house by fire fighters. The other one is still unaccounted for at this time,” said Bossence.

He expressed they have been told the one pet is doing fine. They hope the other was able to get out of the house safely. There was extensive damage to the house.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Bossence is meeting with an investigator to try and pinpoint the source of the fire. He told us they are following up on a rumour circulating around town that the fire was caused by a space heater but will not know have an answer until they have had a chance to investigate the fire and speak with the owner of the house.

“We are pretty confident it originated in the boat, it’s just what caused it is unknown at this time,” said Bossence.

On the topic of space heaters, however, the Kitimat Fire Department is reminding residents: “Space Heaters get used quite often, especially in the colder months like this,” said Bossence. “We ask that if you’re going to use them in your house or especially in a confined space, to make sure it’s safe to do so and make sure that nothing can catch fire.”
On behalf of Brian & Janet Munro
Comment by Dwight Magee on 17th January 2016
I have been asked to share this note on behalf of Brian & Janet Munro who as many of you know lost their house to a fire last Tuesday...Dwight

Dear friends,

Last Tuesday was one of the darkest days of our lives. Both Brian and I were at work when we received phone calls that no one wants to receive – the house that we have lived in and raised our family in for the past 30 years was on fire. We are thankful no one was home at the time except for our two beloved dogs and sadly we lost one of them, our precious little Marlee in the fire. In the past 5 years we have had other dark days, including the death of our youngest son, and we are hoping that our journey will include some bright days ahead after we are able to sort through our past in amidst the burnt rubble in the coming weeks.

A special thank you to the Kitimat Fire Department for their response and support during and after the fire. Allowing us to get into the house afterwards to retrieve Marlee along with an opportunity to recover what remains of our lifetime of memories will go a long way to help us to rebuild our lives.

We would also like to share with you cautionary lessons we have painfully learned. The fire started in our boat next to the house when an electric heater we placed in the boat for the winter somehow caught fire. Many people use these heaters, even in their homes and blindly put their faith in a product that is known to start many fires. We would urge you to learn from our tragedy and take nothing for granted with these plug in heaters. Far too many homes and sadly even lives have been lost to them so we urge you to not take these heaters for granted and be very careful how you use them.

While we do have insurance in place to help us with our material possessions and the home itself, it does not cover the things that matter most to us, a lifetime of memories, photographs and personal belongings of a sentimental value that can never be replaced. No one plans on having a fire but as we have personally learned, it can happen to you.

Finally, words can’t express our gratitude at the outpouring of sympathy and support we have received since then. One of the great things about our town Kitimat is that it is truly a community that cares. Our employers, Rio Tinto and LNGCanada, local businesses, friends, neighbours, and people we don’t even know have come forward to support us in our time of need. Many of you went looking for Marlee when we hoped that she had somehow escaped from the house, and for that we are very thankful. We have had a large string of unfortunate events in our lives in the past 5 years that will affect us forever but through it all the one thing that remains constant is that we are so lucky to have such good friends and we are so proud to be a part of our community that looks out for those in need. Personal disasters can happen anytime and luckily we are so far in a good place. We ask that if you would like to help by making a contribution that you can direct food and financial support to the Kitimat Food Bank Society at 250-632-6611 or the Kitimat Humane Society at 778-631-2371 who have been there for so many of us and our pets in our small community.

Thank you again,

Janet & Brian