Area in need of fire protection

Lack of fire hydrants could result in a catastrophe for residents of Penticton's Spiller Road

This is an open letter to Penticton’s mayor and council.

On July 1 of this year, a house on Spiller Road caught fire and was a total loss. Spiller Road is in the Penticton city limits, but is without fire hydrant protection. The area is rural and a forest environment.

Had the weekend been the type of weather that we had all wished for, the situation could have been one of a catastrophe. However, it had rained for the entire week prior.

No one has forgotten the Garnet fire of ‘94, nor the devastation for Kelowna in ‘03, and there but for God’s grace could have been something of equal magnitude.

I have been told that the amount of water to deal with a fire for the size of building that is the Red Rooster on Naramata Road is 32,000 gallons. Here on Spiller Road, we are currently protected by the amount of water that can be hauled by truck, and at that speed.

As citizens of Penticton, the families on Spiller Road need the same level of fire protection that the rest of Penticton enjoys and sleeps with every night. Fire hydrants that are needed now here on Spiller Road are in the best interest of the 14 families who live here, and almost everyone else from Macmillan Road to the residences of Naramata. A fire the same as the one of July 1 could have easily spread into the community and caused untold devastation. This is not new information, as it has been discussed before. Please, let’s not wait for the next time to discuss this again. Place fire hydrants on Spiller Road.

I am asking council to approve funds for the research and investigation into the cost of placing non-potable water in the vicinity of Spiller Road for fire protection and for control of fire from interface as result of a house fire where control was either lost or unable to have been established, such as the July 1 Spiller Road fire.

There are currently two papers being written regarding fire protection in Penticton — by Valhalla Environment Consultants and Behr Consultants. Valhalla Environment Consultants are to review property owned by the city, and property only owned by the city, with regard to fuel management and thus would not investigate the circumstance of the Spiller Road fire. The people of Behr Consultants are generating a report on response assessment, which I am told that Spiller Road will be a part of. However, it still will not be dealing with the aspect of fire hydrants.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter

Steve Boultbee