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Baie Verte mayor says fire highlighted other ongoing safety issues

It became quickly apparent the fire that engulfed the building would destroy the depot.
It became quickly apparent the fire that engulfed the building would destroy the depot. - Coretta Stacey photo

Depot owner said fire was a nightmare

BAIE VERTE, NL — Baie Verte Mayor Brandon Philpott said the fire at the recycling depot last week, and the subsequent evacuation, exposed two major problems the people of the area have been facing.

Last January the Nor’wester reported outrage in the area regarding the ambulance service provided by Central Health. The belief is the system used for some years now is inadequate for local needs.
The fear is that, due to lack of resources, people could be put in danger or die because an ambulance cannot respond in a timely manner under certain scenarios.

According to reports provided last year, about 16 times a month — on average — an ambulance is stationed as a backup at the halfway point between Baie Verte and Springdale.

Concerns over this practice have continued, as outlined in a Nor’wester article in December.

Philpott said it took almost an hour for the ambulance to respond to the emergency call during the fire at the recycling depot. While there were no injuries reported or any reports of medical needs during the fire, the mayor said the late response time highlights the issues they are dealing with in respect to the service.

 

Baie Verte Mayor Brandon Philpott
Baie Verte Mayor Brandon Philpott

 

An evacuation was ordered during the fire, but the town does not have a muster station for such procedures. The town lost its community centre over a year ago when Kincenter was deemed unsafe due to deterioration and shut down, and efforts continue for a replacement.
The town has acquired the former high school facility on High Street in hopes of renovating that facility as a future community centre.

 

Philpott said friends and family were able to accommodate the people evacuated on this occasion, but the situation did showcase the need to expedite the community centre project and have a muster station.

“It tends to get overlooked,” he said. “I don’t know if people realize the significance of it. It’s an upfront cost for if something does happen. But, if somebody had to be injured in the fire – and we could have had multiple cases – we would have been without an ambulance again for another hour.

“These are near-misses in so many ways.”

The mayor later said he was able to confirm the ambulance was stationed at the halfway point on Highway 410 near Baie Verte junction as a backup at the time of the fire call.

Temporary location opened

The owner of the Baie Verte Green Depot has a temporary solution for recycling for the people of the town and surrounding area, and says recycling services should be as close to normal as possible following last week’s fire.

Recycling operations were expected to begin Tuesday morning in the space at the back of the building at 309-311 Highway 410 (housing Subway and H&R Block), according to Don Loveman.

“Recycling is very important to some people in the area,” Loveman said earlier this week.
“That is one of the biggest issues we had. Our aim was to get something up and going ASAP.”

He said the temporary facility has forklift capabilities and adequate storage.

The owner is still awaiting results of the investigation into the fire and is expected to continue discussions with his insurance provider.

He said the initial hope around noon on Jan. 8 was that firefighters would be able to control the fire and quickly extinguish it, but that proved impossible.
The building was nearly destroyed as efforts continued into the evening, and monitoring lasted into the morning.

“It was terrible,” said Loveman, a longtime businessman in Baie Verte. “Just a nightmare.
“It was unbelievable, to be honest with you. We went through that fire last year, which was devastating, and now this. It is just too much.”

Several homes and businesses in the area were evacuated during the fire as a safety precaution and to avoid unnecessary exposure to smoke and fumes.

Baie Verte chief describes recycling depot fire response 

Temporary recycling depot expected to open in Baie Verte

Baie Verte recycling depot destroyed by fire

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