Lacombe Fire Department responded to a 4:30 a.m. fire on New Year's Day in a local four-plex. One woman was taken to hospital to be treated for her injuries. (Photo from Lacombe Fire Department Facebook)

Lacombe hotel manager spots nearby house fire and alerts residents

One woman remains in hospital after early-morning New Year’s Day fire

Lacombe’s fire chief praised the quick actions of a hotel manager who spotted an early-morning New Year’s Day fire in a nearby four-plex and alerted residents to the danger.

“If it wasn’t for her noticing and being aware of what was going on it could have been a whole lot worse situation, for sure,” said Fire Chief Dennis Cole on Thursday.

The 4:30 a.m. fire was spotted and called in by a manager at a nearby Travelodge by Wyndham Lacombe. After calling 911, she raced over to the four-plex and alerted residents to the danger.

“It was great,” said Cole, of her actions that night. “It was one of those things, right time and right place and we managed to keep the fire down to a minimum. If there was nobody around it could have gotten a lot worse pretty quickly.”

Cole said a dozen Lacombe paid on-call firefighters and himself responded to the 4:34 a.m. 911 call and were on scene by 4:41 a.m.

“When we arrived on scene we noticed one of the units in the four-plex with some fire in the rear of the unit on the inside. There was an occupant who had to escape through a second-floor window.

“There was fire in the rear of the kitchen and it went up through the stairwell and the occupant was unable to escape down the stairs.”

The woman was taken by ambulance to hospital, where she is still being treated for her injuries.

No others were injured in the fire, which took about 45 minutes to put out.

“There was nobody else in the unit at the time and all the neighbours got out and were accounted for and got out in time.

“There was no extension (of the fire) to other units. It was contained to the single unit.”

There was smoke damage to the other units and residents have not yet returned. That will likely happen in coming days. Some are staying at the Travelodge.

The unit where the fire started is likely a write-off, he said. No damage estimate is available yet.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Firefighters have not yet been able to talk to the woman who escaped from her blazing home because of her injuries.

It was a tough way to start the new year for the residents and the firefighters, who were called in from home in the early hours of New Year’s.

Firefighters were on scene for nearly eight hours, ensuring the fire did not flare up again.

The response shows the dedication of the local volunteers.

Even during the holidays when many are celebrating, a 12-member firefighter platoon was on standby ready to respond within minutes.

“That’s why we have people on standby. It doesn’t matter if it’s a holiday or the middle of the week, we still have people ready to go.”



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