Several local fire departments had an eventful end to their Thanksgiving weekend as Greater Napanee, Loyalist, Stone Mills and Tyendinaga firefighters worked together Monday night to extinguish two major fires with no injuries.
The first fire was a brush fire at a residence while the other was a tractor-trailer that burst into flame on Hwy 401, both within the boundaries of Greater Napanee. The two calls were placed about an hour apart and required support from neighbouring departments.
“We got called out for a grass fire at 7 p.m. just east of Deseronto Road, west of Brown Side Road,” said Greater Napanee Emergency Services deputy chief Bill Hammond. “A property owner had lit many piles of brush on fire and then the wind took it and ended up lighting more piles on fire as well as the field.”
Because of the large scope of the fire, additional support from Hasting’s Tyendinaga was provided with an extra tanker and crew.
As the two departments battled to get that fire under control, a call about a tractor-trailer on fire near the Palace Road exit of Hwy 401 came through.
“It was a mechanical failure,” Hammond said of the truck fire. “They had a seize and the brake pod blow through the tractor trailer, which caught fire and then caught the subsequent load on fire.”
The truck was carrying a shipment of apple juice and grape juice.
“Because we were at another fire we had activate mutual aid which brought in a crew from Newburgh, Stone Mills as well as a crew from Odessa, Loyalist,” said Hammond. “We had two of our mutual aid partners on the highway with us last night as well.”
Though the highway was experiencing higher than normal traffic due to the long weekend, great teamwork by several first responders meant there were no injuries or accidents.
“The OPP had the EDR up pretty fast so traffic was stopped for a bit but it started to flow fairly decent,” said Hammond.
“Between the two fires we had over 74 firefighters between the two fires and four departments, including all three of our stations were out at some capacity,” added Hammond.
Mother Nature even added a little help to eliminate any hot spots with the brush fire.
“With the rain moving in last night it didn’t require a fire watch,” said Hammond. “We were preparing for fire lines all night, but with the rain moving in we decided we didn’t need it.”
Hammond said the brush fire call serves as a reminder to residents who plan on burning leaves this autumn.
“In Greater Napanee you require a burn permit,” said Hammond. “You can take out one of three, one’s an agricultural, one’s a brush fire, or the third one’s a camp fire. With all three of them there are parameters for how much you can burn, the size of the burn pile and what you require on location to suppress that fire in the event you need to put it out. Last night, way too much fire, way too much product, not enough suppression capability on location.”