Playing the role of the good neighbour today: the Osoyoos Fire Department.

A rescue crew, after responding to a vehicle rollover farther along Hwy. 3 west of Osoyoos, stopped on its way home to douse a burning vehicle and some scrub grass on Old Richter Pass Road.

“We weren’t supposed to be there,” said Chief Rick Jones after his crew turned over efforts to the BC Wildfire Service. “But sometimes it’s a moral dilemma and with as dry as it is out there, we decided to step over the line.”

BC Wildfire crew members looked after the scrub grass around the vehicle.

Departmental responsibilities and insurance liability mean the Osoyoos Fire Department is not supposed to assist with a wildfire or property blaze outside of Osoyoos unless it gets a request from the provincial service.

The department does, however, have responsibility for vehicle extractions from Nighthawk to Osoyoos.

Which is why the crew was dealing with a rolled pickup near Richter Lake — about 15 km west of Osoyoos — when the call came in about a second vehicle incident closer to town.

“We couldn’t just drive by and not stop to help,” said Chief Jones.

His firefighters were joined by a water truck from the Anarchist Mountain Fire Department and quickly put out the vehicle fire. When a BC Wildfire crew arrived, the local departments headed home.

“We don’t get paid for a call if BC Wildfire doesn’t request our assistance,” said Chief Jones. “But sometimes, they have to suck it up after the fact.”

No injuries were reported in either incident. The Richter Lake accident, however, did raise some eyebrows.

“We couldn’t believe he walked away from that,” said Chief Jones of the unidentified male driver.

“Out of the airbags and seat belt and all that. He had walked up the highway with his golf clubs when we got there.”

 

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