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Why are there so many fires downtown Prince George?

Posted on 7 May 2015

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May 4, 2014: a fire downtown Prince George destroys a new store and damages a popular restaurant.

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May 6, 2015: a fire downtown Prince George destroys a new store and damages a popular restaurant.

These are the two that stand out the most in recent memory, but there have been others, as well, including one that destroyed a portion of George Street in 2006.

Anecdotally, it can seem like an unusually high amount of fires.

@akurjata I’ve never lived anywhere with as many fires.

— Dr. Zee (@docdez) May 7, 2015

Last year, I posed that question to fire chief John Iverson. However, he said he wouldn’t consider it anything unusual, just about what you would expect for a city this size. But even so, why are so many downtown buildings being hit?

“Anytime you’re dealing with older buildings you have some challenges. These buildings were obviously built to the code of the day… and there’s been huge improvements in the fire code to prevent fires from spreading outside the room of origin, let alone to other buildings. “None of those buildings had a fire separation between them, they were basically woods walls built against wood walls.”

So is wood as a building material safe (for example, the Wood Innovation and Design Centre)

“When those buildings are properly constructed and their protection systems are maintained, they are safe buildings to occupy. I would have no problem living in a wood building.”

Full interview is below:

listen to ‘Two major fires in two weeks “random” says Prince George fire chief’ on audioBoom

Filed under: Prince George

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