Shuswap houseboat destroyed in overnight fire; Alberta family lends helping hand

Flames tear through a houseboat on Mara Lake early Tuesday. A witness said the 21 people aboard the houseboat escaped safely. Graecyn Mueller

A vacationing Alberta family came to the aid of Shuswap houseboaters who had their holiday plans altered by a destructive overnight fire.

Kayla Mueller of Canmore said her family regularly vacations at Mara Lake in the Shuswap, and that this was their first trip to British Columbia this year.

Mueller said before the family retired for the night on Monday, there was a houseboat nearby, docked ashore. Hours later, though, a family member awoke them after seeing the houseboat in flames.

Read more: Boating reminder: Stay away from fire zones, pleads BC Wildfire

Mueller said the houseboat was parked approximately 500 feet from their cabin, and when they arrived, everybody was off the houseboat.

She estimated around 21 people were aboard the boat, including children.

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Hours before the fire, Mueller said “we knew there was a houseboat there and we didn’t think anything of it, and we went to bed as normal.”

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Around 2 a.m., a family member woke everyone up, stating the nearby docked houseboat was burning.

“It was crazy,” said Mueller, adding they ran from the cabin to see if everyone was OK and called 911.

“Everyone had made it off the boat fine, but the boat was in flames within minutes.”

Mueller said they brought the houseboaters to their cabin and tried caring for them for a few hours, then later drove them to a hotel in nearby Sicamous.

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It’s believed the 21 people are from Saskatoon.

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Global News has reached out to the Sicamous Fire Department for more information.

Read more: Refuelling likely cause of Shuswap Lake marina fire, say police, fire dept.

Late last month, five boats were destroyed during a marina fire on Shuswap Lake. Police and the local fire department said early indicators pointed to refuelling as being the cause of the marina fire.

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