Brigade responds to fewest calls in 20 years
Carbonear fire department holds 40th firefighters’ ball
The Carbonear Volunteer Fire Department responded to 39 calls for service over the past 12 months, the smallest number in at least 20 years.
“ We’re hoping it’s due in part to the Learn Not to Burn program that’s on the go in schools for the kids,” Chief Ed Kavanagh told The Compass after the 40th firefighters’ ball at the Knights of Columbus in Carbonear on Oct. 8.
About 200 firefighters and guests turned out for the event, which marked the 170th anniversary of the volunteer fire department in the town.
Kavanagh was especially pleased to note it was a fatality-free year.
The single largest number of calls — 11 — were false alarms.
“I wouldn’t be too concerned about it,” the chief said. “ You can’t say it’s a waste of time because any call you get you got to take it serious … You’re better off being cautious than just saying, ‘naw, that’s alright’ and ‘ everything is OK,’ and then five or 10 minutes down the road the place is fully engulfed in flames.”
Firefighters responded to eight structure fires, six brush/grass fires, four motor vehicle accidents, two chimney fires, two no-permit fires, two mutual aid requests, and one each of a propane fire, pole fire, medical emergency, and assisting a dog from the ice.
This year’s ball came a day before the start of Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 9-15, with the theme of “Protect Your Family From Fire.”
Carbonear Mayor Sam Slade referred to the arrival on Oct. 15, 2010 of the fire department’s new quintuple combination pumper, which had been announced at last year’s ball.
Those attending the ball were able to inspect the aerial ladder fire truck, which lit up the parking lot outside the venue.
Five former fire chiefs over a 16year period lobbied to replace the older equipment. The town council provided $167,000 — 20 per cent — towards the $837,000 cost of the new truck. The province covered 80 per cent.
“It’s the only make and model of its kind in the province,” Slade said.
“It brings Carbonear well into the 21st century in terms of firefighting equipment and capabilities,” added Kavanagh.
Slade also referred to the acquisition of self-contained breathing apparatus equipment, which was made possible through provincial funding.
Master of ceremonies Milton Peach noted, “ The truck is stationed in Carbonear, but it is here to serve the whole region.”
Kavanagh referred to the “excellent support” the 40-person volunteer fire department receives from the town, a sentiment shared by the mayor.
“ This council and councils of the past have always been committed to our fire department and tried to provide them with necessary facilities and equipment,” Slade said. “ The Carbonear council will continue to give its full support to our volunteer firefighters.”
The department is currently raising funds to replace an equipment van.
Carbonear-Harbour Grace MHA Jerome Kennedy highlighted the role of younger firefighters in the department. “ That’s so important,” he noted.
During the ball, a 10-year service medal was presented to Keith Keough, while Kerry Noel was honoured with 20-year service status.
Casey Marshall accepted the Fred Chubbs Memorial Scholarship from her father, firefighter Den Marshall.
The $200 scholarship goes to the son or daughter of a member of the department who has achieved the highest average in Level III.
The Clifford Pike Memorial Scholarship for highest mark in Level III literature also went to Casey Marshall.
The president of the ladies’ auxiliary, Diane Barrett, presented the chief with a $ 500 donation on behalf of her group.
“How much pride and dedication the town and volunteer fire department has,” Chief Kavanagh exclaimed. “ The future only looks better.”