July 13, 2018 1:31 am
Updated: July 13, 2018 1:34 am

Kamloops man says fire investigators looking into contract work as cause of massive blaze

Jules LaRue took this video of a fire near his house on Shuswap Road on the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc reserve east of Kamloops on July 12, 2018.


Jules LaRue was visiting his mother down the road from his house on Shuswap Road on the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc reserve east of Kamloops Thursday when he heard there was a fire behind his house.

“I panicked until I saw emergency support services were on scene,” LaRue told Global News.

He began filming with his cell phone, capturing a large, billowing grey smoke cloud behind his home on the brush-covered hillside where police, the fire department and an ambulance had assembled.

His watch read 12:20 p.m., July 12.

“I was told initially the fire started from metal being cut outside of my home from a contract worker,” LaRue said.

LaRue said his house has been undergoing remediation work after a flood.

READ MORE: Wildfire in east Kamloops mapped at 500 hectares

He’s not sure what the contractor was cutting.

After an evacuation order was rescinded and Shuswap Road was re-opened later in the day, LaRue returned to the house and found flags, strings and markings on the burned area behind his home.

“I went to my home after the road was open both ways and the area wasn’t under evacuation order, and I couldn’t see an area where welding was being done,” he said.

“And the burned area by my home was in the alfalfa. I thought that was strange.”

Kamloops fire investigation markers on private property along Shuswap Road, July 12, 2018

Courtesy: Facebook - Jules LaRue/ Global Okanagan

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LaRue said investigators at the scene asked him questions, some that made him feel uneasy.

“I was asked questions in a roundabout way. Made me feel as if I was a suspect,” LaRue told Global News.

A spokesperson for the BC Wildfire Service said the fire’s cause is under investigation but would not comment on LaRue’s story or the investigators who were at his home.

“The investigators are on their way to the scene,” Marla Catherall said.

LaRue is looking forward to obtaining more information from investigators when they complete their work.

“I am also a wildland firefighter and I have faith in Ministry of Forests and other support services,” he said.

The BC Wildfire Service active wildfire map states the suspected cause of the 380-hectare fire east of Kamloops is human.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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