House fire in Hope leaves one man dead

Fire deemed not suspicious by the RCMP, coroner still investigating exact cause of death

One man is dead after an early morning house fire Saturday in the 500 block of Yale Street in Hope.

The Hope Fire Department received a call for a house on fire Oct. 27 at 6 a.m. After multiple attempts to enter the home while fighting the fire, crews located the deceased male occupant of the home at 9 a.m.

“(The) female occupant was on the phone, saying that her husband was still inside the house. When we arrived we had flames appearing through the roof,” said fire chief Tom DeSorcy.

A crew of 16 firefighters then worked to gain entry to the house to conduct a search and rescue.

“We were limited or obstructed in our efforts due to various unsafe conditions,” DeSorcy said. “We had a fire consuming the building, we had extreme smoke conditions, household debris in the building that made it difficult for us to gain entry. There were varying factors that made it difficult, if not impossible, to gain entry.”

RELATED: Two taken to hospital after early morning Hope house fire

Crews made several attempts to enter the home, attacking the fire and searching at the same time.

“Obvious experience says that there’s a very small window if a person is involved in that environment. (It) is certainly not capable of supporting life for very long with that dense amount of smoke and toxic gases,” DeSorcy said.

“I’m confident in the fact that nothing we could have done differently would have changed the situation.”

As Hope is a small town, many of the firefighters knew the family personally. DeSorcy said the team handled the situation well, acting with ‘respect and dignity’ during the rescue and when assisting the coroner in removing the body.

Neighbours were also involved on scene, including one who tried to rescue the man before fire crews arrived. DeSorcy said he believes the neighbour was transported to hospital for smoke inhalation and later released.

RELATED: Hope motel fire claims a life

DeSorcy confirmed there are no other occupants of the home or firefighters injured and no damage to nearby structures. The wife of the deceased man was also taken to hospital and later released.

Multiple agencies were on scene including the RCMP, the BC Coroners Service, the Salvation Army, Fortis BC and BC Hydro.

The coroner is now in charge of investigating the exact cause of death.

“It’s not clear as to his actions. Was he stuck? Did he come out and go back in? We don’t know that information yet,” DeSorcy said.

He confirmed the RCMP is not treating the fire as suspicious.

RELATED: Fire devastates Laidlaw home


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