Salmon Arm firefighter Steve St. Denis, who looks after fire prevention for the fire department, led the plan to provide fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide/smoke detectors to people who are living rough in the community. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

Salmon Arm firefighter Steve St. Denis, who looks after fire prevention for the fire department, led the plan to provide fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide/smoke detectors to people who are living rough in the community. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

People living rough in Salmon Arm to receive fire extinguishers, smoke detectors

Fire department, social service agencies want to keep people and property safe after fires in camps

Just past the anniversary of a man’s death who was living rough in Salmon Arm, a firefighter has come up with what he hopes will prevent more injuries and losses.

It was on March 5, 2020 that Vinny Larson, who had been living in a camp he’d set up near Buckerfield’s, died in a fire there.

Steve St. Denis, fire prevention officer with the Salmon Arm Fire Department, in collaboration with the Salvation Army and other social service agencies, suggested that all those people living rough be provided with a small, two-pound fire extinguisher. They will also be given a carbon monoxide/smoke detector the department was provided by the Fire Chiefs’ Association of BC.

In addition to the deadly fire in March 2020, on March 4 this year the fire department was called to a blaze between the Foreshore Trail and Lakeshore Road, just above the railway tracks. Although the cause was not determined, it started where someone had set up camp. They were not hurt but some of their belongings were destroyed. An approaching train was stopped.

Concerned about the increasing numbers of fires around town, St. Denis went to the Salvation Army to talk about creating an outreach program to provide information on fire risks and safety.

Read more: ‘Don’t judge a person’ says friend of Salmon Arm man who died in fire

Read more: Fires in camps where people in Salmon Arm living rough spark concerns

As well as creating a safety brochure, they came up with the idea of handing out fire extinguishers.

“Even if a small fire did start, they could put it out immediately and not have it lead to a bigger fire or a bigger loss of what they do have. It would give them enough time to get… to a safer area,” he said.

He pointed out the smoke detector would wake them up if they were sleeping heavily in a tent.

St. Denis said such fires are not a problem for Salmon Arm alone.

“It’s a common occurrence; we’re not the only department dealing with this. What other departments are doing I don’t know. The fire extinguisher was something we thought could be a valuable resource.”

The safety brochures will be given to those people and agencies who support people without homes. Organizers of the Food with Friends lunch program, for instance, will be provided brochures to give to people who drop in.

“So hopefully we can prevent a larger loss and make them a little bit safer and more conscious of their propane safety and fire safety in their camps,” St. Denis said.


martha.wickett@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

fireHomelessSalmon Arm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An oversight committee has been formed for an eco-village which will be constructed near Summerland’s proposed solar and battery storage project. (Black Press file photo)
Oversight committee formed for Summerland’s eco-village project

Initial meetings have been held to plan methodology

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen will hold its volunteer Pitch-In event April 22 to 24. (Black Press file photo)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen to hold Pitch-In event

Event planned for April 22 to 24 coincides with National Volunteer Week

A shop up on Grand Oro Road near Twin Lakes burned down on Monday. (Facebook)
Fire rips through shop in small South Okanagan town

The building was destroyed despite community efforts to fight the fire

Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world. Photo provided and colourized by Jiri Ferdinand.
QUIZ: How much do you know about the world’s most famous shipwreck?

Titanic sank 109 years ago today, after hitting an iceberg

In a feature article published April 10, 2021 in The Times of London, ‘headlined British Columbia has what it takes to rival Napa Valley,’ the valley is praised extensively for its natural beauty and wine. (File photo)
From the U.K. with love: Okanagan wine, scenery receives international praise

The Times of London newspaper recently featured the valley in a wine and travel piece

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. sees 873 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday, decline continues

Hospitalizations up to 377, two more deaths for 1,515 total

The music video for “Green and Blue” featured a Willington Care Centre in Burnaby as well as some of the volunteers and employees. (Screenshot/Todd Richard)
‘Green and Blue’: B.C. country musician releases tribute song for front-line workers

Richard’s new single has been viewed more than 3,000 times on his YouTube channel

An unidentified B.C. man said, in a human rights complaint, that he was refused a contract job after refusing to wear a mask when asked to by an on-site manager. (Unsplash)
Religious B.C. man lodges human rights complaint after fired for refusing to wear a mask

Worker’s claim that ‘to cover up our face infringes on our God-given ability to breathe’ dismissed by B.C. Human Rights Tribunal

Prospera Place in Kelowna. (Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
Kelowna Rockets return to the ice after COVID-19 quarantine

All individuals within the team cohort tested negative for COVID-19 earlier this week

This 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 was stolen from Black Creek Motors at approximately 2 a.m. Sunday, April 11. Photos via blackcreekmotors.com
VIDEO: B.C. car dealer posts clip of thieves towing a truck right off his lot

Video shows one white truck towing another off Vancouver Island lot

Bylaw enforcement officer Marcel Bedard sits behind the wheel of his 2004 Chevy Cavalier in 2017. He retired on April 9, 2021 after 24 years working for the City of Salmon Arm. (File photo)
Salmon Arm bylaw officer parks his parking tickets after 24 years

Despite the insults that go with the job, Marcel Bedard enjoyed his work for the city

FILE – People hold signs during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver on Saturday, August 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. to request federal exemption for simple drug possession

Announcement comes on 5-year anniversary of B.C.’s first public health emergency

(AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, FIle)
Rare blood clots ‘may be linked’ to AstraZeneca vaccines: Health Canada

One case of the adverse effect has been reported in Canada

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Most Read