Firefighters contend with wind, poor visibility in fighting Friday fires

Eric McCarthy
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ST. LOUIS -- Firefighters and equipment from three West Prince departments, snowblowers and a snowplow were all used in battling a fire at a farm workshop in St. Louis Friday afternoon.

Miminegash Fire Department deputy Chief Rob Tremblay, said a snowplow opened the farm lane so that firefighters from Miminegash, Alberton and Tignish departments could respond to the 1 p.m. alarm at Leo Perry‘s Union Road workshop. A cable was subsequently strung from the plow to one of the two tractors in the workshop so that it could be pulled from the burning building. Tremblay said the tractor did sustain some fire damage but he believes it can be salvaged. The second tractor, as well as a large supply of tools, could not be saved. The 40 by 60 foot (estimate) building, the deputy chief said, was already fully engulfed when firefighters arrived. The provincial fire marshal, held back by hazardous driving conditions, still hasn’t visited the fire scene to make a determination on the cause. Helen Perry, however said her husband believes the fire might have started in the second tractor. She said Leo discovered the fire when he went to enter the workshop after lunch and found it filled with smoke and a tractor on fire. She believes the loss is protected by insurance. Tremblay said two other farm buildings and the farm house were in close proximity to the workshop but were spared damage. The smoke, he said, was blowing right on the house. Firefighters sprayed about 20,000 gallons of water on the fire and local farmers assisted with their snowblowers, directing the machines’ chutes at the flames. Approximately 35 firefighters from the three departments responded to the call, fighting the cold and drifting snow in addition to the flames during the four hours they were on the scene. Visibility, Tremblay said, was extremely bad as they responded at the height of the blizzard. Fire trucks shuttled water to the scene from the Tignish department’s draughting pond. Because of the poor visibility, the West Prince RCMP ordered Union Road between Profit’s Corner and Miminegash closed to through traffic while the storm was at its worst. It was a similar situation in New Annan Friday morning when a shed that housed a furnace caught fire. The Kensington Fire Department responded and called in Summerside firefighters for assistance. A snowplow accompanied the Summerside firefighters to the scene. The highway there was closed for a while because of poor visibility caused by the smoke and drifting snow. That fire was quickly extinguished.

Organizations: Miminegash Fire Department, Tignish department, Kensington Fire Department

Geographic location: Summerside

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