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LETTER – Getting out of Juniper during fire was a terrifying experience

Residents open gate. (Image: Contributed)

Were you aware no one from the City came to open the emergency exit gates?

Leaving Juniper was a shit show. The developer had heavy equipment blocking the gasline exit. It took a very long time to get it cleared and opened. There was no traffic control to direct people there.

(Image: Contributed)

There is also another emergeny exit at the top of Coldwater where I live. The residents opened that one. They cut open the gate on Rosehill side and used a 4×4 and tow strap to remove the cement block on the Juniper aide. See attached photos.

It was terrifying being stuck in traffic for two hours while seeing the fire roaring, having no idea where it was going. Had it not rained or wind had not changed direction things could have been very dire.

The City refused to pave and open those two roads to Juniper yet they had no problems approving 100 more houses at the top of Coldwater last week but they sure had no problem talking up the emergency exit there during the public hearing.

MIKE WILLIAMS

About Mel Rothenburger (8330 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

7 Comments on LETTER – Getting out of Juniper during fire was a terrifying experience

  1. Sagebrush // July 6, 2021 at 7:35 AM // Reply

    Absolutely hard to hear Trawin’s callous response. We live on the edge just above, so yes, needed to get out. West end lower priority for sure, but who knew where the wind was going to go. Nothing on the radio, no tweets or texts on any emergency lines, so people were panicked for sure. But for him to say that, well, he had to be here. We just got extremely lucky the lightning hadn’t hit above the community with that big wind, but instead, below it. He has zero fire experience but talked like we were all a bunch of lemmings. Unbelievable. 😡

  2. If the citizens can pay $8.3 million dollars for a back up emergency pumping station, to provide emergency drinking water in the event of a catastrophic hazard leak into the Thompson River, ((did the railways kick in $) why can’t another access road from Juniper be built?
    ( I believe previous councilor Donovan Grube Cavers voted against the intake )

    Someone’s priorities are wrong when doing a risk assessment.

    Oh well at least my compost bin will be picked up, I can walk or ride my bike to and from Sahali to downtown …winter time may be an issue.

    Cooper

    From CFJC
    “By Chad Klassen
    Water intake testing on the North Thompson last step before emergency system ready
    Nov 28, 2018 | 4:22 PM

    KAMLOOPS — Wednesday marked the first of two days of testing at the city’s new water intake along the North Thompson River, as it ensures the system is a go.

    The $8.3 million water intake on Yates Road is an emergency back-up system that’s been built in the event of contamination in the South Thompson River. The city is conducting final tests to ensure all the components work.

    “It’s a three-stage component, so we’ve flowed water from the North Kamloops reservoir back to the high lift pump station beside our water plant,” noted the city’s utility services manager Greg Wightman.

    “Then we test the actual intake structure as far as drawing water from the river into the intake, then we chlorinate it and made sure the intake was good for potable water and we’ve introduced potable water to the intake and we’ll be pumping water from the intake to the North Kamloops reservoir.”

  3. R Marcus Lowe // July 5, 2021 at 11:57 AM // Reply

    Take Heart! The resources for fighting interface wildfires in Kamloops cannot be underestimated. It would be useful for the media to compare Kamloops to the rest of the world and I am sure that the result would greatly ease the minds of local people. Really.

  4. Tony Brumell // July 5, 2021 at 10:42 AM // Reply

    Emergency info was not available . Police allowed the mass exit to proceed knowing that the traffic circle did not have the capacity to handle such a volume . The evacuation was not necessary but he residents did not know that. I watched the lightening strike and how fast it grew but all the time the fire dept was doing it’s thing successfully. At no time were the houses on Queppelle or Skeena west of Adams under imminant threat. Public info should have been available on emergency radio . Police should have stopped the evac panic from west Juniper. They also could have open the center lane of Highland for down hill traffic. I am more convinced than ever of the efficacy of roof top sprinklers and the city doesn’t support the idea. The rest of the world does. There are hundreds of R/T systems available on line. Why would that be so if they don’t work. The two or three bush road exits must be opened by the nearest resident in time of emergency. . So much went wrong Fri night that I believe the city and F/D must hold a public session on the dozens of improvements needed for just such emergencies. Wooden power poles ??? Are you kidding me ??

  5. I didn’t know there were emergency exits up there. Kinda hard to use them in an actual emergency when they are blocked off and nobody comes to open them. They better open them and pave them if they’re going to build a 100 more homes!!!!

    Sounds like such a scary experience residents had, trying to leave the area. I have friends up there and I was worried about them that night. Thank goodness the firefighters did a great job and the fire changed direction. I’m happy all those homes were saved.

  6. The City…again! I think the CAO Trawin and the mayor Christian have a lot to answer for! How can we continue to put up with this? Unacceptable at the very least.

  7. John Noakes // July 5, 2021 at 9:07 AM // Reply

    Thanks, Mike. I hope some others express their thoughts to the Armchair Mayor.
    My wife was on her way home from visiting her mom that night. She pulled over to call me when she saw the fire in Juniper as she came in from Monte Creek. She was crying and telling me how many of her friends lived up there and in Valleyview.
    Some big changes are needed at City Hall and the development mentality they have.

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