A major fire that ripped through Brandon over the weekend caught the attention of many in the area. That includes our own Fire Chief.
"It was very concerning," shared Estevan's Fire Chief, Dale Feser. "I was watching it quite in depth to see how they were handling it."
"A very large commercial-style occupancy. When you take a look at the occupancy which I believe is about 100 years old, a tremendous fire load that was inside the building, it's going to challenge any fire department."
"Brandon is a very well established career fire service and basically what they were trying to do was exposure protection trying to prevent the fire from spreading. But with the extremely hot and dry temperatures that are occurring here as well, it's very hard to protect those exposures when you have flying embers which was the case in this particular scenario that started occupancies in close proximity on fire particularly on the roof and working their way down."
He added that even though Brandon is Manitoba's second largest city, they still were forced to call in help from surrounding areas.
"There were quite a few different fire departments that came to their aid and helped bring this under control and to a manageable level."
With the climate here very similar to Brandon, Feser shared a bit of advice to keep your property from catching on fire and leading to a large-scale fire.
"I don't think anyone can really prepare for that, however, I think our city does a really good job as well as Brandon. And that's where we work with our partners in emergency services whether that be policing, EMS, and RCMP."
Feser adds that Estevan uses volunteer firefighters as well as staffed firefighters. There is a program through Mutual Aid that would allow firefighters from surrounding areas to arrive and assist.
"I think the risk is ever-present but through public education and going through and doing inspections and whatnot, that is definitely a key."
"Basically what you're going to want to do is number one, if you see a fire occurring, report that immediately. You don't want to try to fight that fire yourself without actually calling some kind of authority so emergency services can get there in a timely manner. The key is to try and get it to a manageable level."
"Number two is to do some sight inspections on your property and make sure that all fire hazards are being taken into consideration and addressed. That will minimize the amount of exposure that you may have from an unnecessary fire from occurring."
He advises keeping combustible items three feet clear around any gas-fired appliances as well as electrical services.
The cause of the Brandon fire is still under investigation.