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St. Albert truck fire under investigation

Residents watched fire crews extinguish Saturday night blaze

As 18-year-old Grace Arndt drove down Ray Gibbon Drive Saturday night, she noticed a fire in the distance.

Parking her vehicle along the road by the St. Albert Rugby Club, the St. Albert resident watched as firefighters geared up to tackle a truck that was engulfed in flames.

“I thought it was kind of cool, just because you see that stuff in movies all the time. So then it was like, 'Well, I've actually seen a car explode now,' ” she said.

The RCMP are now investigating the fire and put out a call for information Tuesday. They said in a news release the truck, a dark blue 2018 Dodge Ram pickup, was alleged to have been stolen from Amherst Crescent and was found empty and burning shortly after 9 p.m.

The RCMP were not available for an interview by press time, and St. Albert Fire and Rescue Services declined to comment since the case is under investigation.

Arndt's boyfriend, Deven Quintal, was with her that night and jumped out of the vehicle to snap photos with a digital camera he had. The two were far enough away that he needed his 500mm lens to take the photos.

As he watched the St. Albert fire department in action, Quintal, 19, said he felt proud.

“I thought, 'Wow, that is very impressive, what they're doing,' because they were very close to the fire. That gave me a lot more respect for them,” he said. “Like, wow, they're right up to this exploding vehicle.”

After the fire had been put out, Quintal called his brother – who is also a firefighter – to express his gratitude for first responders.

“I told him that it was incredible watching this, that the (firefighters) were calm, and just how they handled it,” he said.

The two stumbled across the action while on their way home from a movie at North Odeon Cineplex. It was around 9:20 p.m. when they parked their car and watched firefighters attack the blaze.

While snapping photos, Quintal heard a loud popping sound as the truck exploded, sending bits of metal outwards.

Quintal said it took firefighters around 20 minutes to put out the fire.

This is the second fire Arndt has witnessed in the last two years. Last year, she watched firefighters put out a house on fire just a few doors down from her home.

When she first drove closer to the blaze Saturday night, Arndt said she wasn’t sure whether it was a real fire or not.

“I don't know what I was thinking honestly, maybe like a controlled fire by the fire department. But then that didn't make sense, because we were just out of town,” she explained.

The experience made her think of her high school friends, who volunteer as firefighters in the small town she grew up in.

“They were the first responders to car accidents and stuff like that. So they see their friends and their friends' parents ... in those terrible situations. So it's not just the risking their lives, but it's the emotional part of it,” she expressed.


Dayla Lahring

About the Author: Dayla Lahring

Dayla Lahring joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2017. She writes about business, health, general news and features. She also contributes photographs.
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