A straw home was destroyed by fire Monday near the Cottonwood Golf Course in the RM of Ste. Anne. Richer Fire Chief Ed Belisle says they got the alarm around 3:00 p.m. for a 1,400 square foot, two-storey residence along Road 48 north, a little north of the Trans-Canada Highway. He adds they quickly called in the Ste. Anne and Giroux Fire Departments for support. Belisle says the home was off the grid and was solar-powered.
"The fire started in the porch of the house and then spread throughout the house. The house was a total loss but there were no occupants in the house at the time. The house was built out of straw bales which made it extremely difficult to extinguish."
The crews were on scene for more than six hours. Belisle says they suspect the fire started in the solar-powered charging system.
"I believe it was an off-grid structure because there was no hydro running to the house itself. But there were solar panels and it looked like a 12 volt-110 charging system. We believe that's what started the fire. According to the homeowners, they were charging a battery in the porch of their house and that's where the fire started."
He adds they fought the blaze in a defensive posture.
"We didn't put anyone inside just due to the type of structure that it was., It just had TJI joists with the square bales. The house started to collapse on itself. As soon as we got there, we could see the walls starting to separate so we didn't want to risk putting anybody inside the house."
There were no injuries.