A bear looking for breakfast may have knocked over a heat lamp in a chicken coop and started a fire, destroying a barn in Pitt Meadows early Saturday.
Pitt Meadows fire deputy chief Brad Perrie said crews got the call to the 12800-block Woolridge Road at about 4:20 a.m.
It’s not possible to say conclusively what happened, but firefighters know the fire started in the chicken coop, where there was a heat lamp to keep the chicks warm.
They also know that, on the previous Friday, a bear broke into the old barn and killed four chickens.
The owner had just made temporary repairs from that when the fire started the next day.
“There’s no way the heat lamp, we believe, would have fallen over on its own. It kind of makes sense, plausibly that the bear came back again, got into the chicken coup and, in the process of chasing around the chickens, knocked over the heat lamp, which we’re pretty sure started the fire,” Perrie said.
“That’s what we believe. I know it sounds crazy.”
The official cause of the fire is the heat lamp falling over, he added.
Upon smashing through the wall, however, the bear also provided an escape route for his prey. Several chickens scurried outside, getting away from the bear and the fire.
“We rounded up maybe eight or nine adults and about six chicks,” Perrie added.
Some others may still be loose, while others may have died in the fire or were killed by the bear.
Three trucks and 15 firefighters responded and quickly extinguished the fire. A house nearby on the property wasn’t at risk.
“There was no sign of the bear. The bear probably got out of there, for sure,” Perrie said.