Sleepless weekend for Stanstead firefighters
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
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.