By Stephen Dafoe
Cardiff – Sturgeon County Deputy Fire Chief Pat Mahoney said a fire that destroyed a Star Key Place home last Friday may have been arson.
“It’s still under investigation,” Mahoney said. “The RCMP were on scene as well and it’s believed to be arson at this time. There was one male individual that was taken into custody for it.”
The Deputy Fire Chief said the fire, which broke out around 12:45 in the afternoon, was the third fire in the Cardiff area that day.
“Initially what happened was there was a tree that was set fire and then there was another tree that never actually caught; the individual tried to set it on fire,” Mahoney said. “The third thing was the small shed where the fire originated next to the house.”
Mahoney said that flames from the burning shed hit the side of the house and travelled up the side to the roof, ultimately destroying the home.
Michael Farmer, a resident of the house, said that no one was inured in the fire that destroyed his home of 18 years. The only one home at the time the fire broke out was his step-father.
“My neighbour came and knocked on the front door and informed him that the shed in the backyard was on fire,” Farmer said. “My step-dad immediately called 9-1-1 and removed the cat from the house and moved the vehicles out of the driveway.”
Deputy Chief Mahoney said that it took approximately 20 minutes to bring the fire under control once crews from Morinville, Namao and Legal arrived on the scene. However, crews were also dealing with preventing neighbouring homes from going up in flames.
“The biggest concern there that day was the exposure to the other houses,” Mahoney said. “It was certainly a defensive operation when the guys arrived because it wouldn’t have been safe to enter the house. It could have been certainly a lot worse than what it was. The guys that arrived on the scene did a good job.”
Mahoney said that one of the neighbouring houses suffered considerable damage to its siding from the radiant heat.
“You obviously have to combat the original fire site, but sometimes the commander on scene has to make a decision and what strategies you’re going to take,” Mahoney said. “With that normally, if it’s a defensive operation, you protect the exposures.”
As of yet, Morinville RCMP have not issued any information on any possible charges related to the fire.
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