Headlines
Written by The Toronto Star
Aug. 21, 2017, Toronto - Toronto firefighters have a new collective agreement, cementing them as the highest-paid firefighters in the province in terms of base salary.
Written by CBC News
Aug. 21, 2017, Winnipeg - Two children were sent to hospital after a grease fire started in the kitchen of their apartment unit Saturday afternoon. CBC News reports. | READ MORE
Written by The Times Colonist
Aug. 21, 2017, Nanoose First Nation, B.C. - Nanaimo RCMP and arson investigators are looking into a suspicious fire that damaged the Nanoose First Nation community hall Saturday morning. The Times Colonist reports. | READ MORE
Written by The Nanaimo News Bulletin
Aug. 18, 2017, Nanaimo, B.C. - Nanaimo firefighters’ rescue training proved to be pure gold on Wednesday evening when they helped rescue Silver, a horse that had become stuck in a pond and was in danger of drowning. The Nanaimo News Bulletin reports. | READ MORE
Written by InsideHalton
Aug. 18, 2017, Burlington, Ont. - The Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal has determined arson is the cause of a fire that gutted Trinity Baptist Church in Burlington early Wednesday morning. InsideHalton reports. | READ MORE
Written by Lauren Scott
Aug. 17, 2017, Mississauga, Ont. - Firefighters in Mississauga, Ont., will be the first in Canada to train using a new fire hydrant designed to increase firefighter safety and efficiency.

The Spartan hydrant was unveiled Aug. 17 at the Garry W. Morden Centre in Mississauga, home to the training and mechanical divisions of Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services.

According to inventor and former New York firefighter George Sigelakis, the Spartan hydrant fixes common issues that create difficulties for departments, such as freezing and unreliable pressure.

"We've eliminated the shaking, the vibration, the water hammer, the leaking, the freezing, the undermining the soil and pressure drains, the painting and peeling . . . ," Sigelakis said.

Sidelakis said traditional hydrants "put the firefighters at risk," because they can be unreliable at the scene of an emergency. Sigelakis said after losing one of his colleagues, he was inspired to redesign hydrants to put firefighters' lives first.

"It's going to [help firefighters] put the fire out much quicker . . . and [give] the ability to do their jobs instead of having to stand around with millions of dollars of fire equipment because they can't get water," he says. "It's like sending a guy in the military to go fight without his gun . . . You can't fight a war without weapons."

In a year-long pilot project with the city, Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services will test the hydrant to assess whether it will save time and water, while increasing firefighter and community safety.

Assistant Chief Jamie Zimmerman said Mississauga Fire is excited to be the first department in Canada to use such an "innovative product."

"I think we're quite proud," Zimmerman says. "Time will tell as we go through and we put our staff through the evolutions with the hydrant . . . but at the end of the day, that's what the [fire] business is about, is improvement."

"We're just really proud that they picked Mississauga Fire and the Garry W. Morden centre to be the test facility."

Members from Milton, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, Vaughan, and Stratford departments also attended Thursday's event.

Unlike conventional hydrants, Sigelock Systems' Spartan hydrant has a water-theft resistant clamshell design made of a stainless steel and ductile iron mix, with a durable powder coating to withstand weathering.

Sigelakis said the Spartan hydrant was "built to last. "

Mayor Bonnie Crombie said the Spartan hydrant, ". . . will better allow Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services to do their jobs, keeping our residents and our community safe."

To learn more about how the Spartan hydrant works, check out this video on Sigelock's YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsZRSHWkdEk
Written by The Canadian Press
Aug. 17, 2017, Kinoosao, Sask. - A small isolated community in northern Saskatchewan has been evacuated due to a forest fire.
Written by CTV News
Aug. 17, 2017, Stoughton, Sask. - Three oil tanks near Stoughton went up in flames on Tuesday night after a lightning strike. Stoughton Fire Chief Pat Slater told CTV News that fire crews were called to a fire about 10 kilometres south of Stoughton around 5:45 p.m. CTV News reports. | READ MORE
Written by CBC News
Aug. 17, 2017, Port Hardy, B.C. - An apartment fire in Port Hardy has forced 48 people out of their homes. The fire broke out Wednesday just before 4 a.m. CBC News reports. | READ MORE
Written by CBC News
Aug. 16, 2017, Williams Lake, B.C. - Just two weeks after residents forced out by wildfires were allowed to return home to Williams Lake, several people have been arrested for allegedly trying to start new fires in the B.C. city. Five male suspects were taken into custody Tuesday, according to an RCMP press release. CBC News reports. | READ MORE 
Written by The Chilliwack Progress
Aug. 16, 2017, Chilliwack, B.C. - A fire that broke out around 8 p.m. Monday was swiftly handled by the Chilliwack Fire Department, saving homes and at least one nearby business. The Chilliwack Progress reports. | READ MORE
Written by CTV News
Aug. 16, 2017, Ohsweken, Ont. - A Six Nations neighbourhood saw its third suspicious fire of the summer break out Tuesday morning. Firefighters were called to an Ohsweken home  shortly before 7 a.m. CTV News reports. | READ MORE
Written by The Canadian Press
Aug. 16, 2017, Nibinamik First Nation, Ont. - A First Nation in northwestern Ontario has been evacuated due to smoke from an increasing number of forest fires in the region.
Written by The Canadian Press
Aug. 16, 2017, Burlington, Ont. - Firefighters and police are on scene of a fire east of Hamilton, Ont., that has caused extensive damage to a Baptist church.
Written by The Canadian Press
Aug. 16, 2017, Toronto - An electrical fire at Toronto's landmark CN Tower was extinguished Wednesday morning after firefighters took turns climbing into an antenna mast to deal with smouldering wiring and insulation.

The fire broke out around 4 a.m. around an electric cable in the tower's main antenna mast, Toronto Fire said. The section is about 480 metres above the ground, just above the tower's Skypod observation deck.

Some 30 firefighters and seven fire trucks were at the scene.

Fortunately, they didn't have to take the stairs.

''We took the elevator up,'' Toronto Fire District Chief Stephan Powell said. ''We had to go up to the Skypod level, took a second elevator to get there. And then we had to climb about (30 metres) up an access ladder to reach the affected conduit.''

Firefighters could only climb the ladder one at a time to get at the fire, Powell said. Other firefighters ''staged'' equipment at the base of the ladder so it could be hauled up and used easily.

Firefighters are used to working at heights, Powell said, but the tight space was a challenge to navigate.

''We were dealing with what appeared to be an electrical issue in a very confined space,'' he said.

Traditional hoses weren't used as spreading water on an electrical fire is quite dangerous, Powell explained. Instead,
firefighters hauled up carbon dioxide and dry chemical extinguishers to deal with the fire.

In anticipation of the cramped space, Powell said firefighters also hooked up their respirator masks to tubes connected to an air supply, instead of carrying portable air cylinders.

The CN Tower shut off power to its antenna during the operation, he added, which affected some local TV and radio signals.

Fighting the fire wasn't all that dissimilar to handling several underground hydro vault explosions in downtown Toronto over the past few months, Powell said.

''What we ended up doing here was, over a thousand feet up, pretty much the same thing,'' he said.

The fire itself wasn't a roaring blaze. Powell described it as "tar-like'', and said insulation on the electrical cable, as well as the wiring, was melting.

The electrical fire was put out just before 7:15 a.m., and Powell said it isn't clear at this point what caused it.

The CN Tower announced on its official Twitter page Wednesday morning that it was open to the public as usual.

Neil Jones, chief operating officer for the tower, said the fire had posed no threat to public safety or the structure. He said all cleaning staff present at the time were cleared from the building and no injuries were reported.

The CN Tower, a concrete communications and observation tower in downtown Toronto, is more 550 metres high. It held the record for the world's tallest free-standing structure until 2007.
Written by The Times Colonist
Aug. 15, 2017, Campbell River, B.C. - A 60-year-old woman is dead, despite her husband’s efforts to save her, after flames ripped through a Campbell River home Monday. The Times Colonist reports. | READ MORE
Written by The Winnipeg Free Press
Aug. 15, 2017, Winnipeg - Firefighters spent hours battling a blaze in a duplex in Winnipeg Monday morning. Fire crews were called to the scene shortly before 6 a.m., where they found one man outside the home and treated him for smoke inhalation. The Winnipeg Free Press reports. | READ MORE
Written by CTV News
Aug. 15, 2017, Calgary - The wildfires in British Columbia have caused a thick layer of smoke to descend on the city of Calgary and other parts of Alberta, prompting Environment Canada to issue a special air quality alert. The environment agency says smoke from the fires is causing poor air quality as it pushes across Alberta. CTV News reports. | READ MORE 
Written by CP24 News
Aug. 15, 2017, Toronto - An elderly woman was transported to hospital this morning after an apartment fire in Toronto's east end. Toronto Fire District Chief Stephan Powell told CP24 that the fire broke out at around 3:30 a.m. at an apartment building near Victoria Park Avenue and York Mills Road. When crews arrived on scene, the fire was located in one of the units on the 17th floor and was quickly knocked down. CP24 reports. | READ MORE 
Written by The Canadian Press
Aug. 15, 2017, Williams Lake, B.C. - Small businesses affected by devastating wildfires in British Columbia will be getting emergency grants from the provincial government as dry weather extends the fire risk.

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson said small businesses, First Nations whose livelihoods are based on cultural practices and not-for-profit organizations that have been under evacuation orders or alerts are eligible for a $1,500 emergency grant.

''The impacts of the wildfires are going to be felt for a long time in this province,'' Donaldson said Monday, calling small businesses ''the economic lifeblood of rural communities.''

The grants apply to businesses employing up to 50 people operating in the eastern Cariboo Regional District and for companies affected by wildfire closures along Highways 20, 97 and 26, he said.

Funds will be distributed by the Canadian Red Cross, which received $100 million from the province when a state of emergency was declared in early July.

Claudia Blair, executive director of the Williams Lake Visitor Centre, said businesses have already lost thousands of dollars after the area was evacuated last month, and last week's closure of the backcountry is expected to create more economic hardship.

''From an economical standpoint it's going to be pretty tough when all is said and done. I think a lot of businesses are going to be hurt pretty badly. Some may not recover,'' Blair said.

''If you are travelling, you're not going to go into an area where you can't put a boat on a lake. You can't go fishing, you can't go quadding. They're not going to come here if they can't do those things on their holiday. But it has to be that way.''

Restrictions in the Cariboo fire centre that covers 103,000 square kilometres of Crown land are intended to maintain safety and prevent human-caused fires but do not affect commercial operators. The ban is expected to remain in place until Sept. 5 as the province grapples with its second-worst fire season on record since 1958.

Businesses are not only losing tourism dollars, Blair noted that about 40 per cent of residents still haven't returned to the Williams Lake area after being evacuated last month.

''I'm almost overwhelmed. As the executive director of the chamber (of commerce) I've never seen such a negative impact on the area,'' said Blair of her 31 years in the area where mills and stores have been forced to close temporarily and the livestock industry has been decimated.

BC Wildfire Service spokesman Kevin Skrepnek said 162 wildfires are currently burning across the province and 729,000 hectares of land has been scorched since the start of the fire season, on April 1.

In comparison, the entire province of Prince Edward Island amounts to 566,000 hectares, he said.

Little to no rain is expected in wildfire-ravaged areas, Skrepnek said, adding winds grew the largest wildfire in the province over the weekend, in Hanceville, 60 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake, to nearly 194,000 kilometres. There are almost 300 firefighters working on that wildfire.

Skrepnek said many of the seasonal firefighters and support staff will be returning to their post-secondary education next month, creating staffing challenges.

''We've been putting a lot of planning into that crunch that's going to be coming in a few weeks as people transition out. That's going to be a mix of people we're bringing in from out of province.''

Staff Sgt. Annie Linteau urged the public to respect evacuation orders after some people refused to leave their homes on the weekend near Ashcroft, B.C., where the second-largest fire in the province grew to 168,000 hectares, requiring 554 firefighters.

''Certainly, we don't take those evacuation orders lightly and they are imposed for everybody's safety,'' Linteau said.

By Camille Bains in Vancouver.
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