ENDERBY (NEWS1130) – A volunteer firefighter has been killed and another hurt after an explosion and blaze near Enderby in the North Okanagan this morning.
Daniel Botkin, 29, died while responding to a call at Sperlich Log Construction. Gord Molendyk with Vernon RCMP says crews were called to the scene at 4 a.m.
“Firefighters thought they had the situation under control. Close to 5 a.m., our officers were just about to leave the scene when an explosion took place… One of the Enderby firefighters lost his life and a second one was injured,” he tells us.
Fire officials have yet to confirm the cause of the blast.
Posts on social media websites say Botkin was married just two months ago and had recently been elected to the position of captain and training officer with the local volunteer fire department
“(He was) pretty well-respected in the community,” said Botkin’s cousin Glenn Botkin, who lives in Oliver.
“He had just gotten a promotion in there. He was a very hard-working, clean-cut kid.”
Dan Botkin was married in October, said his cousin.
Enderby Mayor Howie Cyr tells us he’s shocked by the tragedy.
“It’s unbelievable. Myself, along with the rest of our community, we’re still coming to grips with what has occurred.”
“This is a small community surrounded by rural residents. We all know each other. Our fire department will have a father and a son on it; it’s just a generational thing,” he adds.
Cyr believes that since everyone knows and supports each other in his town, the community will be able to pull through this horrific loss.
WorkSafeBC has been called in.
Tough day for volunteer firefighters across the province
Gary Smith with the Volunteer Firefighters Association of BC says their colleague’s death in Enderby has ripple effects for that town and their group, since 80 per cent of firefighters in the province are volunteers.
“Safety and training, all of those are really the crux of how we protect each other and ourselves,” he explains.
“We never really want to try and introduce ourselves into situations where that level of risk is intolerable, so training is always geared toward protecting firefighters,” adds Smith, who says volunteers do undergo high-standard training.
Smith says the tragedy reminds him of dangerous situations in his volunteer fire fighting career. He’s thankful to be safe.
“It’s a risky job. So, you reflect on yourself and your family, and the families of those who get into those situations as well… Very emotional.”
-With files from The Canadian Press