Brush fire beaten back in Spa­niard’s Bay

Fire de­part­ments, bomber crews praised for re­sponse

The Compass - - OPINION - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

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.

Water bomber

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.

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Photo by Sharon Whalen-reeves/spe­cial to The Com­pass

Smoke rises from the scorched land­scape fol­low­ing a stub­born brush fire in Spa­niard’s Bay on April 22.

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