C-K firefighters tackle a blaze on Reeders Line, February 4, 2018. Photo courtesy Chatham-Kent Fire Department/Twitter.

Concern Sparks Over Recent Fire

The Ontario Fire Marshal’s office has been called in to investigate a fire that broke out at a public works garage in Ridgetown Sunday night.

Fire crews were called to the municipal garage on Reeders Line around 6:30pm.

“The advance stage of the fire when the crews arrived made it impossible to enter the building,” says Bob Crawford, Chatham-Kent’s fire-paramedic chief.

Crawford says a couple of the employees working at the garage had tried to put out the fire but were unsuccessful. A few fire stations were called to battle the blaze but Crawford says the windy conditions made it difficult to control the flames. Eventually, the fire was put out, without any injuries reported. A damage estimate is unknown at this time, however, Crawford says it’s believed some municipal equipment was inside the garage at the time.

“When I left last night — quite late, we were still unable to gain entry to the building but we were told by staff on scene that there may, in fact, be a couple of snow plows and some other vehicles in [the garage],” he says. “It’s still unclear exactly what we’ve lost.”

The damages to a municipal structure and loss of equipment comes shortly after this year’s budget deliberations.

“This puts extra pressure on our fleet people to try to make sure the right vehicles are on the road to provide a service the public wants, and it’s a challenge that comes out of these things,” says Crawford.

The fire is one of a string of recent blazes that have lit up in Chatham-Kent since the start of 2018. Crawford says it’s something the fire department has noticed and will be investigating.

“We’ve noticed a spike as well in terms of the number of fires we’ve been responding to,” he says. “Our fire department has been extremely busy — all 19 stations right across Chatham-Kent. We are concerned about the number of fires that we’ve been experiencing.”

For now, Crawford says they’ll be looking to tie-up loose ends with the current fire investigation before further investigating trends/patterns seen lately.

Related: Chatham Dryer Fire Causes $80K In Damages

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