Fire officials arriving on the scene at January's substation blaze were told by a worker on the site that Chilliwack could be without power for weeks if the flames spread to a nearby control room.
The information turned out to be incorrect, according to BC Hydro, but it caused fire crews to scramble to save the building in which the control room was located.
Assistant fire chief Ian Josephson said that when crews arrived on the scene, they were told the structure adjacent to the flames should be a priority because of its importance to the local power grid.
"One of their major concerns when we arrived on scene was to protect the control room which was in the adjacent building to the transformer," said Josephson. He said the worker told officials that "if that building went down, it could impact power to Chilliwack for two to three weeks.
Fire crews acted on that information, but it turns out that the worker was misinformed.
A BC Hydro spokesperson said power was restored to Chilliwack that day thanks to other intact substations. The spokesperson said that shows Chilliwack's power would not have been out for weeks even if the substation's control room had gone up in flames.
Either way, the incident has prompted Chilliwack fire officials to start preparing for any similar fires in their future. In addition to requests for onsite water and foam, Josephson told the Times they are now trying to identify each substation in the region-including those outside of Chilliwack-to which Chilliwack firefighters might be called to respond to a fire.
"It becomes a major event pretty quick," said Josephson of a fire at one of the facilities.
The aim is to identify any challenges or special equipment needs now, before another fire, so crews can