House, vehicles destroyed in Combermere blaze

Twenty-eight fire fighters from both Madawaska Valley fire halls responded to a structure, vehicle and tractor fire on Perrier Road, Combermere on Saturday August 22 at 12:24 p.m. MV Fire Department’s response involved two pumper trucks, two tankers and one rescue truck. Large black plumes of smoke billowing into the sky were visible to fire fighters leaving both halls as they responded. MV Fire Chief Corwin Quade said, “As I responded I could see the thick black smoke from Finch Road. I knew we had a big fire on our hands.” Above: the home after fire was extinguished Photo: MV Fire Dept.

As the first truck arrived on the scene, fire was breaching the walls and roof of the house; the car and tractor were fully engulfed by flames. Neighbours who reported the fire stated they could smell plastic burning and heard what sounded like fire crackers going off. One neighbour who saw black smoke coming from across the road, ran over there and saw the car in flames as well as a wall of the house. A retired volunteer fire fighter joined him to enter the smoke-filled house and check if anyone was home. They were forced out due to the smoke after a few minutes, and they reported to the incident commander that they could not locate anyone inside during their search.

car
Vehicles were consumed by flames Photo: MV Fire Dept.

Quade said the fire appears to have started in the car parked beside the house, then spread to the home and the tractor that was parked near the car. The total estimated loss caused by the fire is $320,000. He said fire investigation is ongoing, and is not deemed suspicious.

In describing the many hazards confronting the department at the scene, Quade, said, “I am so proud of the Madawaska Valley Fire Fighters working that hard; they are a great team of men and women.” Some of the issues presented by this incident included:

  • Two 500 lb. propane tanks located next to the house
  • Power lines that fell off the house
  • The transfer on the hydro pole across the road from the fire exploded
  • Despite the 29 C temperatures that day, fire fighters wore full protective gear to control the fire
mv-firefighter-propane-tanks-nearby
MV fire fighter works to keep fire away from propane tanks Photo: MV Fire Dept.

The Fire Chief said it was a very hard fire to extinguish and the fire fighters did an excellent job cooling the propane tanks and preventing the fire from spreading into the bush and nearby field. He said, “At one point I checked the temperature in the house with the thermal imaging camera and read 988 F. The fire fighters were on a continuous rotation on the hoses to prevent any sort of over-heating.”

Quade gave credit to the many players who responded to the emergency. The Renfrew County Paramedics were on the scene for hours to assess the fire fighters’ vital signs. Hydro One personnel were there to disconnect the power going into the house; the OPP handled traffic control; and Madawaska Valley Operations staff closed the road to allow easy access for all necessary emergency vehicles. The Fire Chief said, “I cannot thank everyone enough for all the help on this incident, it is great to see how everyone works so well together.”   

 

Quade,C. MV Fire Dept.(2020,Aug.25) Press release Aug.22 fire [media release]

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