GFW Fire Deparment battles second major blaze in a week

Andrea Gunn
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Calls from unincorporated areas pose challenges, says fire chief

The Grand Falls-Windsor Fire Department responded to their second major house fire in a week early this morning. Chief Vince MacKenzie said the department received the call around 5:45 a.m. that a home located in Red Cliff, an unincorporated area west of Grand Falls-Windsor, was on fire.

MacKenzie said by the time crews arrived, the two-storey home was already well engulfed in flames, but crews were able to knock down the blaze quickly.

He said the homeowner was returning home from camping he discovered the fire and called for assistance.

Though no one was injured, MacKenzie said damage to the home was extensive. The cause of the fire is currently being investigated. 

Because the home was located in an unincorporated area where residents do not pay municipal taxes, which cover things like garbage collection, sewer services, and fire protection, MacKenzie said the call posed some challenges.

There are no fire hydrants in Red Cliff, so MacKenzie said crews had to use water from a swimming pool to battle the blaze. Without the water from the pool, he said, the home would have burned to the ground.

Moreover, because Red Cliff is located outside Grand Falls-Windsor, the Fire Department is not obligated to respond, and under certain circumstances would not be able to.

MacKenzie said any fire department’s main mandate is to protect the community they operate in, and before a department can respond outside their community they must make sure they have enough firefighters and other resources to tend to an emergency in their own should one arise.

“Luckily we had enough resources and personnel in town that we were able to respond,” he said.

See Monday’s Advertiser for more.

Organizations: Fire Department

Geographic location: Red Cliff, Grand Falls-Windsor, Grand Falls

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  • Heather Foley
    August 06, 2014 - 22:12

    It shouldn't make no difference to where the fire is located to. All fire depts are there to help anyone in need no matter to where they are, and besides, Red Cliff is close by, so there is no excuse for this!