Bystanders comfort a dog rescued from an SUV in 2014.

Pitt Meadows firefighters rescue child from hot car

Child accidentally locked inside in Pitt Meadows mall.

Firefighters recused a 15-month-old child who was accidently locked inside a car at a Pitt Meadows mall on Monday.

The rescue occurred at Meadowtown Mall at 1:30 p.m. A child accidentally got locked in a vehicle along with the keys. The woman called police and fire department right away.

Firefighters had to break the window to free the 15-month-old child.

Pitt Meadows Fire Rescue Service chief Don Jolley said the rescue is a reminder not to leave children or pets in parked vehicles.

He said a lot of people lock their cars, then use their remote to start the vehicle, with the air conditioning on.

But cars only run for about five minutes when started that way. Then they shut off, as does the air conditioning.

“It doesn’t run forever.”

Within five minutes, a car’s interior temperature can rise dangerously. If people see a child or pet left in a car they should call 911, Jolley added.

“We’ll get there quickly and deal with it.”

B.C. SPCA spokesperson Lorie Chortyk said so far in Maple Ridge this year, the SPCA’s received 18 calls about dogs left in hot cars.

Provincewide, the SPCA has received 366 calls. That’s about half the number of calls received during the same period in 2016, but that could be because of this year’s cold spring.

People should call in if they see an animal in a locked car, rather than break a window, she said.

“There will be somebody there very quickly.”

If the SPCA can’t get there, they’ll call police. The SPCA’s hotline for that is 1-855-622-7722. People should put that number into their phones, so it’s there when needed.

She added that people love their pets and don’t endanger them deliberately.

“People don’t realize how quickly things can go wrong.”

It takes only minutes for a car to heat to dangerous temperatures, even in the shade or with the windows down.

With the forecast for warm weather, both Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge fire departments are watching conditions.

On Monday at about noon, someone fired a flare gun into a grass field in the Pitt Addington Marsh, in north Pitt Meadows.

But the flare landed on the north side of the dike in damp, marshy grass. Crews put out the blaze within half an hour, “but it was a couple hundred yards from the mountain, which then would have become interesting,” Jolley said.

Jolley said it took fire crews about 20 minutes to get to the site, on the south edge of the marsh near the Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge border. Three trucks responded and water had to be hauled in.

The suspect who fired the flare hasn’t been found and it’s not sure why he did that. “Nobody knows.”

Jolley also reminded people not to toss out their cigarette butts on to the road. So far, they’ve had a dozen grass fires in the Meadowtown Mall area. Those small blazes can spread to cedar hedges, if cedar bushes are growing near homes.

“They burn very quickly, these cedar hedges are very dry. One cigarette butt and it will light them all up. Keep them wet.”

Pitt Meadows has a year-round ban on all fires, including camp fires. Maple Ridge allows campfires in some rural areas and is considering implementing a fire ban and is monitoring conditions.