LEWISPORTE, N.L – Police are investigating a blaze that Lewisporte Fire Rescue claims was set deliberately.
“The vehicles were in a training site, where the gate on the road was locked,” said Lewisporte fire Chief Rob Fudge. “There’s no other way the vehicles were going to catch fire.”
The fire occurred on the evening of May 15 at the outdoor firefighter training facility in Lewisporte. Firefighters responded to the call around 9 p.m. to find one of their training cars on fire.
They promptly extinguished the blaze. Several other vehicles on site were also vandalized.
“We are deeply concerned that not only would someone set a fire close to homes in windy and dry conditions that could potentially become even worse, we are equally as concerned and disappointed that some people would go to great lengths to damage or destroy property meant for training our firefighters,” said firefighter and Lewisporte Coun. Stephen Hollett in a Facebook post.
Hollett, who arrived to help tame the fire, told the Pilot on May 18 that a witness on scene claimed the blaze was set intentionally.
“The only thing I’m able to tell you is that we did get a call, and we are in the midst of an investigation,” said Sgt. Ray Jullien, commander of the Lewisporte RCMP detachment.
Fire Chief Fudge said it was potentially a very dangerous situation
“We have vehicles in there, and we don’t know if there’s gas left in them or not,” he said.
The chief said the vehicles are necessary to enable firefighters to practice extraction of people from accidents. He noted even cutting glass during an accident has a proper technique.
“To go in there with all these vehicles completely destroyed was disheartening, heartbreaking you know,” he said.
The investigation is ongoing, and the Pilot will provide updates as more information becomes available.