Sleepless night for Bay de Verde fire chief
Grateful for support of fellow TrinityConception brigades
Even though firefighters from neighbouring communities were willing to pitch in and help overnight to look after hot spots, Bay de Verde fire chief Ambrose Broaders didn’t get a wink of sleep Monday night.
“I went to bed twice, but I didn’t get no sleep,” he told The Compass last Tuesday, dressed in his firefighting gear and standing a short distance from what remained of the local fish plant.
It was mostly noise from the scene of the fire that kept him awake, and there was still plenty of noise Tuesday as a backhoe dug through pieces of steel to expose hot spots for firefighters to hose down. By that point, firefighters had remained at the scene for over 30 hours.
“That’s the only way to get at it — dig it out,” said the fire chief.
Broaders is a 30-year veteran of the local volunteer brigade and has spent the last 20 as fire chief. He also happens to be a local manager for Quinlan Brothers, the company that operates the plant.
Asked where Monday’s fire would rank for him in terms of challenging calls, Broaders raised his hand above his head. “Past them clouds,” he said. The fire chief knew immediately Monday morning the intensity of the fire was beyond his crew’s capabilities. Luckily, there were plenty of other departments willing to help. At one point, seven other fire brigades joined the team from Bay de Verde to fight the blaze — Bay Roberts, Carbonear, Hant’s Harbour, Harbour Grace, North Shore, Old Perlican and Winterton. Firefighters from the Heart’s Content and Heart’s DelightIslington brigades handled the overnight shift.
“Thanks big time,” said Broaders when asked what he’d say to the firefighters in those departments. “It’s something that you don’t expect, but I tell you, when it comes to push, it’s no trouble to get a bit of help.”
With smoke blowing wildly past homes in the community, Broaders said there was a genuine concern sparks might get caught in the wind and create fires elsewhere, but this did not happen.
“We had a lot of water going there, so we did knock a lot of (sparks) down,” said the chief. “We had two aerial ladders, but we could only get them on the back end there, because the wharf is not the place for heavy trucks like that.”
“It’s something that you don’t expect, but I tell you, when it comes to push, it’s no trouble to get a bit of help.” Ambrose Broaders
Ambrose Broaders is a 30-year veteran of the Bay de Verde Volunteer Fire Department, having served as fire chief for the last 20 years.
Firefighters continued to douse hot spots with water last Tuesday at the site of the fish plant in Bay de Verde.