Peter Garry, 3.5, takes a break from the excitement at last year’s open house at the fire hall. This year’s event is scheduled for next Saturday, May 12. Mirror File Photo

Annual Campbell River Fire Hall Open House a blend of fire safety and fun

This year, department will light up two model living rooms to show benefits of installing sprinklers

Usually, it’s not a great idea to light a fire in a living room, but that’s exactly what the Campbell River Fire Department will be doing next weekend. Two living rooms, actually.

Well, simulated ones, at least.

“Sometimes people just need to see it, to believe it,” says deputy chief Thomas Doherty.

And so, the fire department will create two models of two living rooms at their annual open house – being held next Saturday, May 12 – and then light them on fire. Each room will contain common furnishings, window treatments and a working smoke alarm.

“There’s nothing like the heat and smoke of a real fire to help adults and children understand just how fast a home fire grows,” Doherty says. “With our side-by-side comparison, we can show why a typical home fire becomes deadly in three minutes or less – and the value of having a fire sprinkler system installed.”

This dramatic – but safe – demonstration has become increasingly popular with fire departments across the country.

“By providing this unique live fire comparison,” Doherty says, “Campbell River residents will gain a firsthand appreciation for fire’s power and realize what an incredible advantage it is to have a fire sprinkler system installed if a fire breaks out.”

You see, the only difference between the two simulated rooms is that one will contain a fire sprinkler to show the difference in the rate the fire spreads, Doherty says.

As with every year, the open house will also include many other exciting and fun events for families, such as a chance to be raised 101 feet in the air with the ladder truck, hands-on opportunities with a fire hose and target, and hydraulic rescue tools. In addition to the many interactive events, firefighters will provide a live demonstration of a vehicle rescue at 11 a.m.

The department will host a by-donation barbecue with hot dogs, hamburgers and refreshments, with all proceeds going to Cameryn’s Cause.

The Campbell River Fire Department is working with the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition – Canada, the National Fire Protection Association, Home Hardware Canada and Caledonia Fire Protection Ltd. in bringing what Doherty says is an important educational opportunity to town.

“If you’re building, renovating or thinking of buying, take a few minutes to learn how you can add the life-saving fire sprinkler into your home,” Doherty says.

Free information is available about home fire sprinklers from HFSC’s web site at, where residents and businesses can learn more about this life-saving technology, see video clips and animations that answer common questions, and read about real-life fires where sprinklers saved lives.

The two simulated rooms are scheduled to be transported to the Home Hardware parking lot across from the fire hall on May 12 where the fires are scheduled to be lit at 1 p.m.