Brush fire beaten back in Spaniard’s Bay
Fire departments, bomber crews praised for response
Residents in the Seymour’s Road area of Spaniard’s Bay were given a scare on the afternoon of Sunday, April 22 after a brush fire erupted mere metres from homes.
The blaze, which extended .5 kilometres towards the Town of Upper Island Cove, was roughly 15 metres (50 feet) from the home of David and Marilyn Barrett.
“It looked bad for awhile,” Marilyn told The Compass last week. “We thought we were going to lose the garage.”
She said her husband went out behind their Spaniard’s Bay home to see what had happened to two youth who had earlier walked over the bank.
As he approached the area, the two youths were seen clamouring back over the bank, saying there was a fire burning.
“When (David) got there, a fire hose or something like that wasn’t any good,” Marilyn said, and she quickly called the Spaniard’s Bay Volunteer Fire Department.
Police confirmed late last week that the two youths were responsible for starting the fire.
“They were playing with a lighter” and it got out of control, RCMP Cpl. Richard Basha told The Compass on April 26.
When the department arrived, First Capt. Randy Davis said it quickly became apparent that additional resources would be required. A call for assistance went out to departments in neighbouring Bay Roberts and Upper Island Cove, and provincial forestry officials were also alerted to what was one of four forest fires burning on the Avalon at that time.
Before long, all three brigades were on the scene, and two water bombers were in the air.
“We made the call for the water bombers almost immediately,” said Davis.
Firefighters had ready access to water, since there is a duck pond on the property, and a hydrant is located across the street.
“A few things fell in line for them to fight the fire,” Marilyn said.
The fire department made the request for one water bomber, but officials with the Department of Natural Resources deployed two planes.
The bombers scooped up water at nearby Lady Lake in Harbour Grace and repeatedly dropped their playloads of more than 6,000 litres on the site. This continued for several hours until all the hot spots were drenched.
“About an hour-and-a-half after the water bombers arrived, we knew we had the fire under control,” said Davis.
No dwellings lost
The quick work of all three fire ‘departments helped limit the damage. Not only was there no structural damage to any of the dwellings, and the only real damage was the swath of scorched earth.
Davis praised the work of firefighters from all three departments. “They all did a fine job,” he said. Davis added that if the wind had changed, there may have been more damage.
“We’re fortunate it didn’t (wind change) because there are a lot of woods back there and small lanes,” he said.
For the Spaniard’s Bay department, Davis said it was the third such fire they had put out last month.
The fire was a topic of discussion at the April 23 meeting of the Spaniard’s Bay town council, with Mayor John Drover commending all those who responded to the emergency.
“The ( fire) department gained a lot of respect yesterday,” said Drover.
Smoke rises from the scorched landscape following a stubborn brush fire in Spaniard’s Bay on April 22.