Discarded cigarette causes $800,000 damage to farm on Opeongo Road

On Tuesday March 26th Madawaska Valley Fire Department (MVFD) was dispatched to a shed on fire in the 10800 block of Opeongo Road. The fire was spreading to adjacent fields. Although the site was 14 km from the Hall, MVFD fire fighters were on the scene 16 minutes later. Personnel responded from both Halls, with two tankers, two pumpers, two rescues and 16 fire fighters.

MV and KHR Fire Departments

Upon arrival MVFD fire fighters noted six buildings engulfed along with five acres of field and bush. Killaloe Hagarty Richards Fire Department (KHRFD) was called in to provide mutual aid in the form of a tanker truck, pumper and fire fighters. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Wildfire Office was notified and remained on standby should they be required to assist.

Photos taken at the scene by Madawaska Valley Fire Department.

At the height of the operation, there were ten fire vehicles on scene and 26 fire fighters fighting the blaze. Three tankers shuttled water from a creek 4 kms away. At one point more than 2,000 feet of fire hose was deployed around the fire.

KHRFD was released after 1.5 hours on scene. Fire fighters from MVFD South Hall were released after 1.5 hours and were sent to Brudenell Lyndoch Raglan to assist with tanker shuttle for a large blaze that BLRFD were battling. MVFD stayed at the Opeongo Road fire with a tanker, two pumpers and 16 fire fighters until 6:30 pm.

MVFD Fire Chief Corwin Quade reported there were no injuries; a house, two barns and a shed were saved. The fire destroyed six structures – among them some of the oldest buildings in the municipality – along with a tractor, numerous vehicles and farm equipment. Seven acres of field and bush were burnt. Nothing was insured and the total loss is estimated to be in the $800,000 range.

Caused by discarded cigarette

Chief Quade advised The Current that a discarded cigarette thrown in the grass caused the fire, which started on the edge of the municipal road, spread in the field and then to the structures.

Two people called in reports of a field and shed on fire. One of them was cutting wood in the neighbouring property and could smell smoke and rubber burning. They went to the scene to check out what was happening. At the same time a second person driving to work came upon the fire.

Thanks to everyone involved

Chief Quade said that both MV and KHR Fire Departments worked very well together. “They did an amazing job,” he said. Quade added, “I would like to thank the fire fighters from Killaloe Hagarty Richards Fire Department for their hard work. Renfrew County Dispatch did an excellent job coordinating the mutual aid call, and passing along information as they received it. Madawaska Valley Fire Department fire fighters worked hard as they always do, and I would like to thank them as well.”

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