Sicamous employer comes to aid of fire victims

icamous couple Irene Mahringer and Rob Niemenin were halfway to Kamloops Saturday afternoon when a fire broke out…

Sicamous couple Irene Mahringer and Rob Niemenin were halfway to Kamloops Saturday afternoon when a fire broke at their Solsqua-Sicamous Road residence.

“We’d just left our house a half-an-hour before the fire started,” says Mahringer. “We were en route to Kamloops because my husband had a chartered flight to go back to work in Fort Nelson. And we couldn’t really  turn around and come back. We couldn’t do anything, he had to go to work. So we just kept going.”

Mahringer has since returned to the remains of her residence of 25 years at the Cedar Ridge Mobile Home Park, and was pleased to be able to recover numerous personal belongings.

At 2:04 p.m. on March 2, Sicamous RCMP received a 911 call from a residence in the Cedar Ridge Mobile Home Park. The investigating officer found one of the units fully engulfed, and contacted the fire department.

Fire Chief Brett Ogino says it took three hours for his crew to contain and knock out the fire.

“All in all, I thought our response was quite good and there’s still a structure standing,” says Ogino.

As for the fire’s cause, Ogino says it’s believed to have started in a front bedroom, possibly an electrical panel, though nothing has been confirmed.

Mahringer’s plan, for the time being, is to get back to work with her employer, Waterway Houseboats.

When word of the fire reached Waterway, the company initiated an auction through Facebook to support Mahringer.

“We put a houseboat trip on our Facebook page and we had some parameters – the first bid of $4,500 or the highest bid by noon Wednesday – and somebody purchased it yesterday,” said Waterway general manager Neil Millar. “So that was great. We’re happy to help. Irene has been an excellent employee and we believe in that sort of thing here.”

Mahringer is overwhelmed with the support she’s received from Waterway and others.

“I’ve worked with them for four years and they’re the best company I’ve ever worked for. What can I say, I’m just blessed,” said Mahringer, adding the Sicamous Legion has also provided financial support.

Despite her loss, Mahringer says she’s doing OK, and is staying positive.

“I’ve lots of friends and family, and the community has just been awesome…,” says Mahringer.