Princeton volunteer firefighters extinguished the grass fire near Highway 5A before building a soft guard perimeter. They worked around a tarped body carefully, so as not to interfere with the scene. Photo Credit Andrea DeMeer

Small town firefighters rise above stress at grisly scene

“We were not informed there was a body there. We were informed there was a grass fire.”

When Princeton volunteer firefighters responded last Thursday to grass and car blazes near the airport, containment and the threat of a spreading wildfire were the only things on their minds.

They were not aware there was a body on the ground.

“They just came across it,” said chief Rob Banks. “We were not informed there was a body there. We were informed there was a grass fire.”

The discovery could not distract the first responders from their priority – which was to extinguish three separate spot fires before they jumped Highway 5A and moved into the valley.

“Fires like that, there was wind that day, can spread very quickly,” said Banks. “You have to look at what is going on in the province.”

Firefighters were tasked with dousing the flames while staying away from the body as much as possible so as to not disturb the scene.

Related: Man dies of burns and self-inflicted wounds in bizarre public death

RCMP and other first responders were unable to get to the dead man until the fire was out.

Later police determined the 30-year-old victim, whose identity was not released, died of burns and self-inflicted wounds. The grass fire was ignited when the man ran from his burning car and fell to the ground.

Following the events last week a post-traumatic stress and critical incident worker was called in to speak with volunteer firefighters.

Banks said that is the second time such a call has been necessary during his time with the department. Approximately 10 years ago help was sought after a fire killed two local residents.

It’s regrettable, he added, that this death was witnessed by so many people.

“It brings it into the public and the public doesn’t need to see that. Nobody needs to see that.”

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Stabbing at Surrey banquet hall sends man to hospital

RCMP says victim has ‘non-life threatening’ injuries, incident still under investigation

55-year-old man taken to hospital after fire at Surrey RV park

Firefighters find man suffering from smoke inhalation, burns to face and hands: battalion chief

Slam poetry creates catharsis for North Delta youth

Burnsview Secondary team gearing up for poetry festival and competition in April

South Surrey parking ticket perplexes, frustrates

Theresa Delaney predicts more people will be wrongly ticketed

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Pedestrian in serious condition after hit by car downtown Abbotsford

A youth was also hit, suffered minor injuries, police say

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

Most Read