SUMMERSIDE – While most Islanders were huddled up at home during Wednesday's major snowstorm, emergency crews were hard at work in the City of Summerside.
Summerside Fire Department
Fire chief Jim Peters said Thursday morning that during the height of the storm between 6 p.m. and 1 a.m., his firefighters responded to 10 calls.
Most were of a minor nature, said Peters, but two forced the evacuation of homes.
During one incident, gusting winds caused a tree to topple onto power lines on Hatley Crescent, which sparked fire to an adjacent home.
The family was evacuated and no one was injured, however, there was smoke and water damage to two rooms of the house.
Another family had to be evacuated from a home on Highland Avenue when their furnace exhaust plugged up with snow, forcing dangerous fumes back into the house. No one was injured and the family was moved to a hotel for the rest of the night.
Peters also reported several power surges throughout the evening as well.
Conditions were extremely difficult, said the chief, and the only reason firefighters were able to go anywhere was because they were escorted by municipal plows.
Even then, it was slow going.
“Sometimes it was hard to see the turnoff of the street,” he said.
Peters also wanted to warn residents who are burning wood to use alternative measures if possible.
Extreme winds can suck flames into chimneys, causing creosote buildup to catch fire.
Anyone who has another option than wood should consider it for the remainder of the weather system, said Peters.