Motor vehicle collisions in the area are, unfortunately, on the rise.
This was noted during Chief Vince MacKenzie’s report for October 2011 to September 2012 at the 22nd annual Grand Falls-Windsor Volunteer Fire Department Firefighter’s Ball Oct. 13.
“The Grand Falls-Windsor Fire Department responded to 24 calls to motor vehicle accidents where firefighters extricated a total of nine persons, including five female and four males from car wrecks,” MacKenzie said. “Last year, I reported we had 18 calls and that was a banner record setting year. But this year we’re up to 24, that’s an increase of 25 per cent…serious motor vehicle accidents unfortunately are on the rise in our area.”
Between October 2011 and September 2012, the fire department responded to 113 calls for immediate assistance, a trend down from last year when they responded to calls for assistance up to 146, he reported.
Of those, 74 were paged out to all personnel and only 42 were actual fires in progress. The other 39 involved investigative odors, smoke sightings, alarm malfunctions, and complaint calls but still required a response by personnel.
There were 14 chimney fires, down from last year’s 21; eight residential fires in Grand Falls Windsor, two house fires and six fires inside residences, with only one of them cooking related; and three fires at commercial properties, Corona College, A&R Trailer Fire, and just recently the Canadian Tire Gas Bar.
There were two Government structure fires, one construction fire at a hospital, and a construction and roofing fire at the school board that cost in excess of $200,000 in damage, he said.
There were 22 investigative calls – four vehicle fires, one of which was a tractor trailer on mutual aid to Bishops Falls, one bus fire at the weigh scales, and two passenger vehicles one in town and one Red Cliff.
The department responded to five brush and grass fires.
“And I’m pleased to say this year for the first time we had only no dumpster fires,” MacKenzie said. “This is a decrease because this was once an epidemic in our town but this speaks to the fire inspection and the fire prevention efforts that the department has taken on over the years.”
There were four fires involving hydro utility pole fires; two responses to assist other agencies; and five calls of types otherwise not classified or nuisance.
“We responded to 21 calls for fire alarm activations as opposed to 45 last year,” the chief said. “Eighteen of the 21 calls required page out to members.”
They were six residential alarm company, four commercial fire alarms, three apartment buildings, four alarms at local hotels, three fire alarm activations at the hospital or Carmelite house, and one alarm to school in the early morning in August.
He went on to report property losses from fire in Grand Falls-Windsor amounted to approximately $1.9 million, as opposed to over $340,000 last year.
Residential property loss was approximately $600,000 of that number.
Commercial losses were approximately $1 million. Vehicle losses to fire were $25,000, as the other major losses were outside town limits. The school board fire was estimated over $200,000.
“The men and women of the Grand Falls Windsor Fire Department have logged 3,769 person hours of training alone since the last firefighter’s ball, not including fire and emergency responses, fire prevention, bingo, and committee work and assorted activities,” MacKenzie said. “That’s an incredible number.”
There were a total of 196 fire inspections carried out – 159 commercial, 25 residential and 11 other types.