Midway Fire and Rescue (MFR) last week put out a rumour that a wildfire had started in the West Boundary.
Fire Chief Mike Daloise said a Facebook post to a community group Friday, July 23, wrongly stated that MFR and a “Rock Creek fire department” had responded to an area wildfire.
There was no wildfire and there is no Rock Creek fire department, Daloise told The Times.
“My biggest concern is that rumours can send people into a panic,” Daloise said, stressing that many people in the West Boundary live with upsetting memories of the 2015 Rock Creek wildfire. Hearing of a fictitious wildfire could send people fleeing their homes unnecessarily, he noted.
In a Facebook post Saturday, Daloise implored residents to “please share only confirmed information when it comes to the fire situation or other emergencies.”
MFR had gone out to a single-vehicle rollover on Highway 33, roughly 10 kilometres north of Westbridge Friday afternoon. Daloise said the department responded with two fire engines in case the vehicle caught fire.
It didn’t. Instead, Daloise said he suspects people watching the fire engines barrelling through Midway and neighbouring Rock Creek jumped to the conclusion that, where there are fire trucks, there must be a wildfire.
What had happened was that a red pickup truck left the highway, landing front first into a roadside ditch at around 1:30 p.m. Daloise said the truck was “badly damaged,” but that no one was found either in the vehicle or at the scene by the time volunteer firefighters and BC Ambulance paramedics arrived.
The errant post was taken down after Daloise said he initiated a conversation between fire officials and the group’s administrator. The administrator then posted a retraction in which they apologized for their mistake.
Rock Creek fires and other emergencies are handled by a satellite MFR station, according to Daloise.