Fire Fighting in Canada

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Grass fire destroys 100 old cars

April 5, 2010, Hamilton, Ont. - Firefighters worked late into Friday evening to battle a major rural blaze that torched a large field and about 100 old vehicles on a farm near Hamilton.

April 5, 2010
By The Canadian Press

It took 40 firefighters and 11 trucks to bring the scorcher under control after it began around 1 p.m.

"We had to come at it from different sides,'' said John Verbeek, public information officer for Hamilton's emergency services. "We wanted to stop this thing before it spread.''

Flyaway embers from a farmer's controlled fire ignited a nearby field of dry grass on his rural property west of Highway 8, in Flamborough, Ont.

The field quickly turned into a smoldering black mass as flames engulfed about 25 to 30 acres of land littered with a slew of scrap vehicles, gas tanks and drums filled with wood.

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"We heard a few explosions while we were here, some of them were vehicle tires exploding, there were a few propane tanks,'' said Verbeek.

The jumble of torched vehicles included a few ancient school buses and at least one camper, said Verbeek, adding that they were only being stored on the farm and belonged to someone else.

"I just see a lot of scorched ground, black ground, where the fire spread, and there's about 100 vehicles just all over the place back here in the field,'' he said.

No one was injured in the open-air blaze, which didn't involve any buildings. Verbeek added that it was hard to place a dollar loss on the vehicles damaged in the fire because they were scrap to begin with.

Firefighters managed to snuff out the majority of the flames by early evening, but were still dealing with a large drum of dry wood which continued to burn.

The blaze was the fourth grass-fire the Hamilton department battled on Good Friday.

With months of warm, dry weather approaching, Verbeek said even those with permits for open-air burning need to be very careful when lighting even a controlled fire.

"People need to be aware that in a matter of seconds, with the dry conditions we have, these conditions can get out of hand,'' he said.


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