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Cumberland cautions about coloured drinking water after structure fire

The Village of Cumberland says tap water might be discoloured following heavy usage battling a Wednesday night blaze.

Cumberland Volunteer Fire Department, City of Courtenay Fire Department and members of BC Wildfire Serve responded to a structure fire in Coal Creek Historic Park’s Japanese Town.

Cumberland Fire Chief Mike Williamson says the fire was reported just after 6:30, and the fire was much larger than anticipated.

“When we got there it was a brush, structure forest fire. There was a whole 80 foot (24 m) barn on fire, trees burning 100 feet (30 m) high, 100 feet across and spot fires going off into the forest,” he said. “It was moving over to the house next to it and it started to catch fire.”

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Williamson says crews caught a break in windy conditions that evening, as it calmed down when they got there.

They say the fire burned under challenging conditions, as the nearest fire hydrant was around 300 feet (90 m) away from the blaze.

Williamson says he believes the fire was human-caused and it is now under police investigation. He says he is very pleased with how quickly crews were able to contain the fire.

“The crews just absolutely did a fabulous job,” he said. “When I first saw that fire, [I thought] ‘we have problems here’ and within 30 minutes we had it under control.”

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He adds they checked back on the fire on Thursday and will be checking it again over the next few days.

Fighting the fire resulted in heavy use of the local water, according to the village. They say this could cause a slight discolouration in residents’ tap water.

If this happens, they say to run your tap until the water is clear. The fire did not affect water quality or quantity.

The village says they will have more information available on the event and its implications for the park in the coming days.

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