Last year started with a bang for Chilliwack firefighters as a massive blaze at BC Hydro's Atchelitz substation resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, an oil leak and power outages across the city.
The Chilliwack Fire Department (CFD) responded to 343 fires in 2012, up from 270 in 2011 and 299 in 2010, but down from the 389 in 2009 and 357 in 2008, according to the annual fire report presented to city council last week.
Overall the CFD faced 2,260 calls for service, which resulted in 12 fire-related injuries and fire losses totalling $4.6 million, according to Chief Rick Ryall. Of those total losses, $3.9 million (85 per cent) was the result of residential fires.
Last year saw the highest number of emergency medical aid and public service responses over the last five years, while there were fewer burning complaints and hazardous material calls since 2008.
The 12 fire-related injuries in 2012, including one firefighter, were the fewest in the last seven years. The highest number since 2006 was in 2007 when there were 22.
The CFD budget of $5.19 million in 2012 was a 7.5 per cent increase from $4.8 million in 2011. That's a per capita increase from $58.54 per person in 2011 to $62.70 in 2012.
The leading causes of fires in Chilliwack in 2012, in descending order, were: cooking, arson, smoking materials and electrical.
Other numbers from the report for 2012: 49 vehicle fires (resulting in a dollar loss), 34 dumpster fires and 199 burning complaints.