Cranberry Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ron Gueulette locks up the the fire hall after a blaze damaged the interior.

Rural Nanaimo fire department tackles blaze in own fire hall

NANAIMO – Cause of fire Cranberry Fire Hall under investigation.

It’s not often a fire department responds to a blaze in its own fire hall, but Cranberry Volunteer Fire Department’s volunteers were called out late Monday to snuff out a fire in an equipment storage room in their fire station on Morden Road, south of Nanaimo.

Firefighters responded at about 11 p.m. Monday, when their fire hall’s recently upgraded fire alarm sent out an alert. They worked until after 2:30 a.m. Tuesday to completely snuff out the fire.

“The problem is, when you’re called to your own fire hall, you have to get all the apparatus out before you can even start the attack and you need to get all your protective gear out, too, because all our gear is hung in the truck bays,” said Ron Gueulette, Cranberry fire chief. “Fortunately, the fire was on the second floor so we were able to get all of our trucks out.”

Gueulette said he knew of nothing that could have sparked the fire, which started in a second storey equipment storage room and burned through a wall into a community hall gymnasium, which was also damaged. Investigators from the B.C. Office of the Fire Commissioner, scheduled to attend the scene Wednesday morning, would hopefully determine the cause.

“We had practice last night and we were here until 9:30 p.m. and we had nothing going on,” Gueulette said.

There was no damage to the fire department’s apparatus bays, but flames caused structural damage to the engineered trusses in the roof of the building, which could take some time to repair.

The building is now under lockup, unless the fire trucks are needed for emergencies, until the investigation into the fire is complete.

Cranberry fire department will move its dispatch operations into the old South Wellington Elementary School while the building is being repaired.

A polling station for the upcoming election has also been relocated from the fire hall and into the school at 1536 Morden Rd.

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