From selling homes to saving them.
A tent fire in the Sportsman Trailer Park in Bonnyville this morning was quickly extinguished by a RE/MAX Bonnyville Realty agent from our community.
Around 9:30 a.m., on July 13, thick smoke which smelled like burnt plastic filled the air in the park as someone yelled for help. Vince Kelly was nearby prepping a unit for sale when he saw the smoke.
“I just saw the smoke and I thought well Jesus as anyone called,” Kelly told Lakeland Connect.
The neighbour across the road from the blaze quickly handed Kelly a fire extinguisher. Kelly told Lakeland Connect the man just had hernia surgery and he couldn’t carry it. Kelly quickly made his way through the thick black smoke to give the fire a blast from the extinguisher.
“I just went in there, I had to go back and forth a few times because the smoke was so thick,” Kelly said.
Not your average day for a RE/MAX Bonnyville Realty agent, but Kelly says he didn’t want to see people lose their homes.
“You know, a lot of times people are underinsured or not protected,” Kelly said. “So I wanted to minimize the damage and keep everyone safe. The big thing was stopping the units from actually getting completely on fire that was my concern. The siding was all melted off the trailers between the fire, and the exterior had gotten on fire on both sides, it could have gotten a lot worse so that was my concern.”
Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority Fire Chief Jay Melvin says the tent blaze was reported initially via 911 as a structure fire.
“Once we got there we realized that it was a tent on fire between the two trailers with a mattress inside,” Chief Melvin told Lakeland Connect. “The cause is unknown at this time.”
Chief Melvin says nobody was hurt, and there was some property damage to a neighboring trailer. He says the quick thinking of the neighbour and RE/MAX Bonnyville Realty agent Vince Kelly before their arrival was a great assistance.
“He used two 30 pound dry chemical extinguishers,” Chief Melvin said. “Which definitely assisted us, without the neighbors and bystanders’ help it would have been a little different, but we’re thankful for those folks that assisted before our arrival.”
Chief Melvin says you should never fight a fire on your own if the risk is too dangerous.
“It’s an easy thing to say, don’t go in and do it, but in the time at the moment when something’s happened and your neighbors looking and somebody is calling for help, then logically many people do what they can, but if you’re going to do that try and access the risk.”
For Vince Kelly who saved the homes and helped knock down the blaze, he just wanted to help his community and is now back to prepping a trailer for sale.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.