Canada — What was thought to be a brush fire coughing up volumes of smoke behind West Shore Parks and Recreation, was actually a naval firefighting exercise.
In addition to the July 8 propane burn, more simulated fires of a mock Sea King helicopter at the CFB Esquimalt Damage Control Training Facility in Colwood are taking place July 9 and two more days next week.
Unfortunately what happens, people dont remember that (the training centre) is there and they conclude that its a bush fire and its not, said Capt. John Cassidy, Colwood fire prevention and suppression officer. Fortunately it turned out to be a false call.
Two engines from Colwood Fire Rescue rushed to the suspected brush fire after a 9-1-1 call came in at 1 p.m. They remained at the scene for about 30 minutes.
Typically, fire officials are informed in advance about fire training for naval personnel and can prudently respond to emergency calls in the area. Sometimes night training is held.
I believe it was a minor miscommunication in this event, Cassidy said, adding that it happens very infrequently. Somehow a call was missed.
If Colwood Fire Rescue had been told, its emergency response may have been different. Instead of sending out two engines full tilt to the Colwood tree belt, just one may have been tasked to assess the situation — saving resources for other possible emergencies.
However, because fire officials werent told and with the current high-risk fire rating in Greater Victoria, firefighters responded in their usual emergency fashion.
We do not have psychic powers, Cassidy said. We still would have had a response … but we may not have put two fire engines on the streets, code three.
Even if smoke and fire is coming from the vicinity of the training area, the inspector welcomes concerned residents to call 9-1-1 or contact the fire departments non-emergency line at 250-478-8321 provided they have a very good feeling and that its something of significance.
If anyone has a concern when they see a plume of smoke or a possible fire, we fully encourage people to make the call, Cassidy said.