Sleep­less week­end for Stanstead fire­fight­ers

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier Stanstead

The Stanstead team of fire­fight­ers passed their ‘courage and en­durance test’ over the week­end, be­ing called out four times be­tween Fri­day night and Sun­day af­ter­noon, in­clud­ing to an ex­tremely dan­ger­ous fire that broke out in the wee hours of Satur­day morn­ing.

The hellish week­end be­gan on Fri­day evening when they were called to fight an ex­te­rior fire at the Duf­ferin Heights Golf Club. That fire was a mi­nor one and just a ‘warm-up’ for what was to come. “We got the next call at around 2:30 in the morn­ing. A neigh­bour called to say there was a fire at the Bev­er­ley Gran­ite build­ing on Junc­tion Street,” said Stanstead Fire Chief Chris Good­sell. “We couldn’t even go in­side the build­ing when we got there; it would be a de­fen­sive at­tack.” That ‘at­tack’ was car­ried out with five trucks from Stanstead, three trucks from Derby Line, and two trucks from

Stanstead Town­ship.

No-one was in the build­ing, which was be­ing rented out, at the time of the fire. “We had a few close calls with walls col­laps­ing. There were also sev­eral ex­plo­sions. It ap­pears like the fire started in the rear of the struc­ture, but the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing,” said the Fire Chief. Mirac­u­lously, no fire­fight­ers were hurt. It took fire­fight­ers about seven hours to put the fire out and they were able to save the neigh­bour­ing build­ing.

“Af­ter we got that fire un­der con­trol, we went back to the fire hall, cleaned and checked all the equip­ment, then went out for breakfast as a group. We put our or­ders in for breakfast and be­fore most of us had even got­ten our food, we were called out to an­other fire,” con­tin­ued Mr. Good­sell. The next fire was on the farm of Arthur Laberee on the Lan­glois Road in Stanstead East. “There ap­peared to be about one hun­dred and fifty round bales all to­gether, and about sixty were burn­ing. We were able to cut a line in the bales to save many of the bales and we were able to save the barn, which was about fifty feet from the bales, from burn­ing.” One rea­son that they were able to save the barn and so many bales of hay was the fire­fight­ers’ fast re­sponse time to the fire. They ar­rived on the scene while the owner of the prop­erty was still on the phone with the 911 op­er­a­tor, ex­plain­ing what was go­ing on. “We called in the Ayer’s Cliff fire depart­ment to help haul wa­ter and for ex­tra man­power be­cause of their prox­im­ity to the fire and be­cause we knew their guys were fresh,” said Mr. Good­sell.

The fire­fight­ers were pack­ing up their hoses fi­nally around 5:00 pm on Satur­day, af­ter a fif­teen hour, non-stop shift. “They were kept go­ing on wa­ter, Ga­torade and gra­nola bars. The teams did a fan­tas­tic job and it was nice to see the guys come to­gether and work so well to­gether. I’m very proud of our crew – they did a great job,” con­cluded Mr. Good­sell who ad­mit­ted it was one of the busiest week­ends that he had seen since he be­gan fire­fight­ing ten years ago.

The Stanstead fire­fight­ers were called out again on Sun­day by some­one who no­ticed smoke at the site of the fire at the gran­ite shop on Junc­tion Street, how­ever, that was a false alarm. The build­ing was in­deed still smol­der­ing in places, how­ever, that was nor­mal and ex­pected to con­tinue for a few days. The fire­fight­ers, who had been check­ing the site ev­ery few hours since Satur­day morn­ing, dumped more wa­ter on the de­bris.

The ex­cit­ing week­end will give Fire Chief Chris Good­sell a lot to talk about at a spe­cial event tak­ing place in Stanstead for the first time, this evening. The Re­gional Fire Chiefs As­so­ci­a­tion, which meets four times a year to dis­cuss re­gional is­sues such as train­ing and new laws, will be meet­ing at the Pat Burns Arena.

The wreck of the gran­ite shop, where walls col­lapsed and there were sev­eral ex­plo­sions, in the light of day. See more pic­tures on page 8.

The Stanstead Fire Depart­ment was first called to a mi­nor fire at the Duf­ferin Heights Golf Club on Fri­day evening.

Fire­fight­ers worked through the night to get the dan­ger­ous fire at the Bev­erly Gran­ite shop un­der con­trol.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.