Huge fire in Austin
Alarge and dangerous fire broke out in Austin on Monday, around 2:00 pm, on a property close to the railway line near the intersection of route 112 and North Road. A SOPFEU water-plane, which could be seen regularly sweeping low over the city of Magog to collect water from the lake, worked with five local fire services to put out the fire: Austin, Stanstead, Magog, Eastman, and the Regie incendie Massawippi (Ayer’s Cliff). It is believed the fire was caused by a resident trying to burn a nest of some kind.
First to arrive, the Austin fire service found the fire was burning on both sides of the rail line and was spreading fast. With homes and Mont Orford national park at risk, the other services were quickly called.
The Stanstead fire department was asked to send a tanker truck and two firefighters and they quickly responded. “We got the call mid-afternoon that the fire was out of control and growing. We arrived at the scene just a few seconds before the crew from Ayer’s Cliff,” said Stanstead Fire Chief Chris Goodsell. The Stanstead team set up their portable pond and filled it, twice, for the Magog pumper truck to use to extinguish a pile of burning abandoned railway timbers that were lying beside the rail line. “It was a huge pile of railway timber, soaked in creosote. Once they caught fire there was immense heat; a foaming agent and a mechanical shovel had to be used to put out that fire,” said the Fire Chief.
“When we first got the request to go I had to ask the dispatcher to repeat it. It was a first for us, going to Austin, but a fire knows no borders. It took us twenty-five minutes to get there, but when there is a fire of that magnitude… If we had something like that here, they would come and help. We have to help each other,” explained Mr. Goodsell. “We brought our coveralls to wear for our work, but I sure felt bad for the guys who were wearing full gear,” he added.
In total, about fifteen fire trucks were called to the scene, as well as auxiliary fire trucks. “The police did a good job of keeping the roads closed so the emergency vehicles could get through,” commented Mr. Goodsell. Firefighters were at the scene until about 2:30 am on Tuesday to make sure the fire was out. It is expected that SOPFEU will cover the expenses of the fire.
The SOPFEU water plane dropping water on the fire in Austin on Monday.
The Stanstead Fire Department filling their portable pond for the Magog Fire Department to use during the Austin fire.