Chief Charlie Boyte's report for September 2011

Michael Boyle

As I write this on August 20, the fire danger rating has reached extreme. That always makes us a little nervous at PIFR because in these conditions fires start easily and spread quickly. That’s why you will see lots of equipment rolling to any fire call that might pose a risk to the community.

Our volunteers have responded to 113 calls already this year. Every one was answered professionally and quickly by our committed volunteers. Many communities across the Province do not enjoy that security. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all or volunteers for keeping us safe here on the Penders.

I have heard several stories about the house fire on Schooner Way on the 29th of July, many farfetched. Let’s set the record straight: The fire was accidental. Fortunately no one was injured as the owners were not in the house. The fire was not discovered until it broke out through the windows and roof at approximately 5 a.m. It was not known at the time of the 911 call if the owners were in the building but we did know the house was normally occupied so we were very concerned for the residents’ safety.

The initial 911 calls indicated the fire had escaped the structure so we were also concerned the fire could reach forested areas. This concern is well founded because the extreme heat created by a house fire can carry burning material hundreds of meters from the building and start spot fires almost anywhere within a kilometre.

Twenty-seven firefighters attended with three pumpers, three rescue trucks and a water tender. The first in crews arrived in less than 10 minutes, determined the occupants were not inside and two teams of volunteers had the fire under control very quickly. The volunteers did an exceptional job and we should all be very thankful for the hundreds of hours they train to make that happen.

House fires are tragic and traumatic events. Each one I have attended has had a profound effect on the owners, their families and friends, their neighbours and their community. If you have smoke alarms mounted in suitable locations in your home you will likely have enough time to escape the fire. The grim reality is that house fires destroy much more than the building. Take a look around you as you read this article. Look for the things you have collected over the years that cannot be replaced. Then take a minute to check those smoke alarms and make sure they work.

Under laws passed last year you can be held criminally responsible if someone is injured or killed in a residence that does not have working smoke alarms. For less than $20 a month you can have a monitored smoke detection system installed in your home. That system will insure the fire department is called at the first signs of smoke and give us a fighting chance to save your cherished belongings. Monitored smoke detection systems should be installed in all seasonal residences.

Even better have a residential sprinkler system installed in your home. In 99.8 per cent of all fires one sprinkler head will contain or extinguish the fire before the fire department arrives. There is not one documented case of a fire death in a sprinklered residence in North America.

Any house fire can result in a major forest fire when the fire hazard is in extreme so please call 911 immediately and make sure your address is clearly posted at the road so we can find your house when we are called.

Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
No permit is required
Regulations apply

member

Julie Gray

First Responder

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911

Non-Emergency:

250 629-3321

administration@
penderfire.ca

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