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Elderly couple displaced by Merville house fire

Oyster River Fire Rescue had busy morning with accident, medical calls
Oyster River Fire Rescue responded to a fully-involved house fire on Winn Road in Merville. Photo, Oyster River Fire Rescue

An elderly Merville couple has been displaced and was taken to hospital following a house fire on Friday morning.

The Oyster River Fire Rescue got the call about 6:45 a.m. A first 911 call came in but was abandoned — presumably, the residents trying to call before the line was disrupted. As the department was on its way, another call came in from a neighbour.

“We were heading to the abandoned 911 call anyway when it got upgraded to a structure fire,” fire chief Bruce Green said.

The fire at the Winn Road house was fully involved when they arrived, with flames shooting up to about 10 metres into the sky.

The length of the 800-metre driveway provided an obstacle, as it had not been plowed, so they had to stretch their hoses to get to the fire as well as face some challenges around water access. They were on site until about noon.

The incident was part of a busy Friday morning for the department, as they had to respond to two vehicle accidents, two medical calls and a chimney fire.

“It was busier, more than normal for us,” Green said.

He said it is a good reminder for people to keep in mind their elderly neighbours by offering to clear driveways during winter weather.

“Get the driveways done somehow, some way,” he said. “Even if they’re not using the driveway, there might be an emergency.”

The couple was outside the building when the firefighters arrived. The two were taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, while Emergency Support Services attended the hospital to provide them with assistance.

RELATED STORY: Comox Valley Regional District awards contract for Merville fire hall

Oyster River Fire Rescue had a mutual-aid agreement with the City of Courtenay for the area, but they took over fire protection in Merville as of Jan. 1 as part of the project to add a satellite hall for the community.

“We’re just making sure the residents are fully protected,” Green said.

Winter weather has provided some delays, but the fire chief expects the hall to be ready within a couple of months, and already there is a crew trained for service.

“We’ve already got Merville members that we’ve been training for two years,” he added.

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