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Beware Beavers and Mirrors

One of the tasks I do each week when looking for a topic to write about is checking the newswires and firefighting web site sites for news related to fire safety. Often I find reoccurring themes or topics which bring about the subject matter we address, however on occasion I come across some fairly bizarre stories and this week I just couldnít help myself, especially because two of the stories actually took place in Eastern Ontario.


The first story took place in Perth Road Ontario, a village located 30 km north of Kingston. On October 20th firefighters were called to a cottage fire, the fire resulted in total destruction of the building with an estimated value of $150,000.00. Fortunately the fire department was able to stop the flames from spreading to another cottage located nearby. Upon investigation it was found that the fire was started by a tree which had fallen across power lines, when investigators looked closer they found the distinctive chew marks of a beaver left on the trunk of the tree. So far the offending beaver has not yet been taken in for questioning or charged with arson.


Another strange story took place in Ottawa on October 27th, firefighters were called to what appeared to be an unexplained balcony fire in the downtown area. A passer-by called the fire department to the location when smoke was seen coming from the balcony, when fire crews arrived on scene they found a four foot section of a wooden privacy fence charred and smoldering. As it turns out, two full sized mirrors were left on the balcony facing towards the fence, the mirrors reflected the sunlight and heat so effectively that the fence boards began to burn. Ottawa Fire spokesman Marc Messier said it was one of the strangest incidents he has ever witnessed.


The last incident fortunately didnít happen in Ontario, but took place in Spokane Washington. Fire crews were dispatched to a medical call where a patient was reported to be suffering from seizures. While in the home attending to the patient, fire crews and medics heard a loud crash. Upon rushing to the front of the home it was discovered that the unmanned fire truck had plowed into the front porch of the patientís home and had also punched a hole in the living room wall. Fortunately no one was hurt from the incident, however Spokane Fire Chief Bobby Williams is at a loss as to how the truck travelled over 100 yards with no one at the wheel and became lodged in the patientís home.


I canít say there are any lessons to be learned from any of these stories except that maybe we should be wary of fire truck driving beavers holding mirrors, have a good week.


Published in The Villager newspaper - November 3, 2010


No part of this article can be reprinted or reproduced in any form without the expressed written consent of The Russell Fire Department's Public Education Division.

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