Water-hauling heroes

Water-hauling heroes

27 November 2009

published by www.lethbridgeherald.com


Canada — A pair of men who run a local water-hauling business say they were just doing what any good neighbour would do when they helped douse a raging grassfire Thursday which threatened several rural homes.
Doug Davies was working in his industrial shop about five kilometres east of Lethbridge at about 3 p.m. when a woman from a neighbouring acreage burst in and alerted him that the fire was heading toward her mobile home. Davies immediately filled one of his 16,000-litre water trucks from his dugout and headed next door.
“I got a load of water on and got in there,” he told The Herald.
He also got on the phone to his son, Murray Davies, in Coaldale, to hurry out and load up their other water truck, as well. Doug manoeuvred his truck into the path of the oncoming blaze where he could spray water and keep the wind-fanned flames away from the woman’s home.
Soon afterward, firefighters from Lethbridge and Coaldale also arrived, as did Murray, who soaked a wide swath of grass around an adjacent house.
“We really have to thank him for his efforts because he likely saved the property,” County of Lethbridge Fire Chief Darryl Beaton said Friday. “Thanks to his efforts, the burn marks on the ground ended about three to five metres from the home.”  
Both men worked alongside firefighters for more than two hours to extinguish the fire, which blackened a swath of land about one kilometre long by about 100 metres wide.
“I don’t think we’re heroes. We just did a job. Maybe someday we’ll need help and people will be there for us,” Doug said. “We couldn’t have handled it just with the water trucks. We needed those firefighters.”
Ordinarily, the father-and-son tandem wouldn’t be anywhere close to home at this time of year. They cater to the oilpatch, hauling water or providing fire watch for oil and natural gas drilling rigs in northern Alberta from October to March each year. They are still at home this fall due to the major slowdown in the oil and gas sector.
“We’ve got our trucks equipped with high-pressure hoses and fire nozzles,” Doug said. “We hung them on the trucks. They’ve been there two years and we’ve never needed them (until now).”
Fire investigators are looking into the possibility a controlled, permitted burn may have spread because of high winds.


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