Volunteer firefighters douse two blazes
Two major structure fires kept East Wellington Volunteer Fire Department members busy Tuesday.
The day started for volunteers around noon with a barn fire on Munroe Road.
Fire chief Steve Ellis said when the crew arrived, the roof of the barn had already collapsed and volunteers decided to let it smoulder out.
An excavator was brought in later to remove the roof so firefighters could extinguish remaining hot spots.
Owner Jeff McCallum, who raises grass-fed cattle, said the barn, one tractor and about a dozen bales of hay were lost in the fire, but the important thing is there were no animals inside.
"It was a hay barn," he said, adding he has insurance.
Ellis said cause of the fire is still undetermined, as just as he was about to investigate, the department was called to a house fire on Jameson Road around 5:30 p.m.
He said the family of four who live in the rancher are away on holidays, but a relative is looking after the place. When firefighters arrived, the blaze was well underway.
"Every little pore had smoke coming out of it," said Ellis.
There was fire damage to the kitchen, living room and dining room areas, as well as the roof, and there was smoke and heat damage throughout the house, said Ellis.
"It was bad enough that they won't be living in it," he said. "The structure itself is certainly rebuildable."
Ellis did not have a chance to investigate the cause of the house fire by press time Wednesday, but he believes it started in the family room.
Tuesday was the first time the department has used its new, state-of-the-art fire truck on a structure fire, said Ellis. There hasn't been a structure fire in East Wellington for at least 18 months and the truck, which cost just under $500,000, was acquired last fall.
The new truck features four-wheel drive to enable firefighting in more rural areas and a compressed air foam system, which allows crews to use less water – vital where there are no fire hydrants.
Ellis said the compressed air foam system helped the department extinguish the house fire quickly.
"It helped in the damage and in quick knock-down," he said.