Exhausted firefighters save homes

Exhaustedfirefighters save homes

27 April 2007

published by www.capebretonpost.com

Nova Scotia, Canada — Exhausted firefighters saved theday again as brush and grass fires threatened homes in this rural community,Friday.

Smoke could be seen for miles as the fire destroyed a car and barn at 1172Little Pond Rd., the blaze stopping inches from the house.

Firefighters ripped off the front eaves to make sure the fire didn’t work itsway inside, managing to save that house and the one next door.

With blackened faces and bunker suits covered in mud, firefighters hosed downthe barn attached to the house, while others roamed the brush nearby dousing hotspots.

One homeowner who was trying to save his barn from fire, was taken to theNorthside General Hospital suffering from chest pains.

As continuos calls were made to 911 dispatch, firefighters in Florence andneighbouring North Sydney were assisted by a Department of Natural Resourceshelicopter crew that has been stationed in Coxheath since Tuesday.
Pilot Mason Watt with the Department of Natural Resources helicopter crew drops water on a bush fire in Little Pond, Friday. Below him, Greg Jessome, deputy fire chief of the Florence Volunteer Fire Department, and firefighter Wally March douse a burning car with water. (Photo: Julie Collins – Cape Breton Post)

Since the grass fire season began a few weeks ago, firefighters on the Northsideand other areas of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality have barely been ableto keep up with the calls.

“The past few days have been unbelievably busy,” said Greg Jessome, thedeputy chief of the Florence Volunteer Fire Department.

“We were out until 11 p.m. Thursday and the first call Friday comes in at 2a.m. when a pier caught fire in Alder Point and it just continued,” saidJessome.

“We had a house fire in Florence just before 12 noon and managed to save thatstructure. At one point we had firefighters fighting a barn fire in Point Aconiand we got the call from Little Pond. There is quite a distance between thesecommunities. Our manpower and resources are spread pretty thin.”

Jessome added the calls also take their toll on firefighters who have to leavetheir families and their jobs.

“Our firefighters are exhausted.”

Local fire departments are assisted by Natural Resources personnel when the firethreatens brush and forest areas.

“The fire index across the province has been high all week,” said NaturalResources helicopter crew member Andrew Young. “Nothing has greened up, so thegrass and woods are very dry. Having the firefighting helicopter helps slow downthe fire and gives the firefighters on the ground a chance to get it undercontrol.”

The forecast is calling for rain for today and Sunday giving weary firefightersa much needed rest.

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