Fire levels rural Highlands home

Three volunteer fire services battled a blaze that destroyed a home deep in Highlands Wednesday night.

Highlands volunteer fire department was called out to 360 Hazlitt Creek Rd. at 6 p.m., and found a home engulfed in flames, said fire Chief Guy Brisebois.

“We got there it was too late, the house was fully involved. The house is a total loss,” Brisebois said. “Fortunately nobody was inside.”

Highlands fire crews set up a defensive spray onto the house, while Langford and Willis Point fire crews helped shuttle in water to the rural area, near where Millstream Lake Road meets Ross Durrance Road.

“It was a defensive attack. We couldn’t get into the house, so we didn’t want to put guys in a position where they’d get hurt,” he said.

About 30 firefighters had a long night fighting the inferno and then extinguishing hotspots. Crews were on scene until about 2 a.m. Thursday morning. Fire investigators were at the house today trying to piece together how the fire started.

Brisebois said as of now, the cause is considered undetermined, but not suspicious.

“If the house is destroyed, it is very, very hard to pinpoint the reason,” he said. “We have no idea but investigators are trying to pin it down.”

Volunteers step up for Highlands fire department

Highlands volunteer fire department, which last year was down to a bare 14 volunteers between two fire halls, is now up to a complement of 29 firefighters.

“We are back up to where we want to be. We could use one or two more, but 29 is better than 14,” Brisebois said.

The department struggled to field volunteers in past years, especially for daytime firefighting in a muncipality covered in forest. At one point, almost half the volunteers were older than 50.

Brisebois isn’t sure why the department had an influx of volunteers, but it does mean they have a lot of rookies on their hands. “A lot of news guys is good. We get them to do the digging and the dirty work,” Brisebois joked.

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