Sleep­less night for Bay de Verde fire chief

Grate­ful for sup­port of fel­low Trin­i­tyCon­cep­tion bri­gades

The Compass - - NEWS - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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

AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COM­PASS

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.

AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COM­PASS

Fire­fight­ers con­tin­ued to douse hot spots with wa­ter last Tues­day at the site of the fish plant in Bay de Verde.

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