Car leaves Veterans Memorial Highway, catches fire, charges laid
A car that went out of control, hit a ditch and caught fire on the Veterans Memorial Highway (west of Harbour Grace) kept 11 firefighters from the Harbour Grace Volunteer Fire Brigade busy for a few hours last week.
The brigade got the call for help around 2:37 a.m, Sunday May 24.
“The driver appeared to have lost control of the car, went into a ditch and then caught fire,” said Fire Chief Sonia Williams.
It took firefighters a couple of hours to extinguish the blaze.
“The car was in the ditch, so it took a little more work to get the fire out,” explained Williams. “It was also a bit of a different fire, more complicated, because the rubber tires and paint on the car were burning, so that required a bit of extra time and effort.”
At the time of the accident Constable Chris Harris and another member of the Trinity Conception ,District RCMP were patrolling the Veterans highway. A member of the Harbour Grace Volunteer Fire Brigade flagged them down.
“There was a vehicle off the road with quite a bit of smoke coming from it,” Harris told The Compass.“ Not long after a lone male walked up from the ditch and within a few minutes the car burst into flames.”
The driver of the car was intoxicated.
“The male will be going to court in July to face charges of operating a vehicle with an alcohol level over the legal limit. Fortunately no one was injured and the Harbour Grace Fire Brigade were able to extinguish the fire before it could spread any further than just around the car.”
Meanwhile the Brigade is gearing up for a busy few months and putting their summer schedule in place.
“We have six crews in place and one of those crews is responsible to be in Harbour Grace all the time,” said Fire Chief Williams. “If any one is going on holiday or sick or can’t be available for some reason or another then someone else will fill in for them.”
Like most fire departments, training is extensive and continuous. Three firefighters from the Harbour Grace Brigade are currently in Clarenville for training.
“One member is getting his level one in fire training, another is receiving level two while the third firefighter is being trained in vehicle extraction,” explained Williams.
On Monday May 25, the Brigade was also called to a home in Harbour Grace where a furnace had backfired.
While the hours are erratic and the role of a volunteer firefighter is demanding, Williams says it’s all part of the job.
“There are nights when you don’t get much sleep, that’s for sure,” she said. “You may be called to a scene early in the morning, be there until the fire is out and then have to go straight to work, to your paid job. But that’s just the nature of the position I guess - something all volunteer firefighters do on a regular basis.”
CAR FIRE - The driver of this car, which went off the road on the Veterans Memorial Highway and caught fire, is facing impaired driving charges. Eleven firefighters from the Harbour Grace Fire Volunteer Brigade as well as two RCMP officers from Trinity Conception District responded to the May 24 accident.