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County of Barrhead grass fire destroys several outbuildings

Seventeen firefighters needed to extinguish late night fire

BARRHEAD - A grass fire on a Bloomsbury farm spread quickly, enveloping several outbuildings late Sunday night on Nov. 19.

Barrhead Regional Fire Services (BRFS) chief Gary Hove said the call, which came in just before midnight, was reported as a structure fire when the call came in.

However, he said when firefighters arrived, they found out it was more of a grass fire surrounding the farm site, and as a result, multiple outbuildings had started to catch fire.

"One of the big pig barns had caught on fire in a couple of places; one shed had burnt down completely, and another animal shelter and pump house on the other side [of the property] caught on fire," Hove said. "Once we were on scene, we contained the fire quickly."

He added that the pig barn and animal shelter were no longer operating.

Complicating matters for firefighters was the fire happened during a windstorm.

"The wind played a huge factor in pushing the fire around and kept any embers about to go out burning," he said.

The fire department responded with two fire engines, two water tenders and its wildland fire attack unit. In total, 17 firefighters helped extinguish the fire.

Although Hove said firefighters quickly contained the fire, firefighters were on the scene mopping up and putting out hot spots until about 3:30 a.m.

"Because of the scene's size, there was a lot of overhaul," he said.

Overhaul is a firefighting term for checking a fire scene to ensure no fire remains.

"By the time we finished cleaning up at the fire hall, it was about 4:30 a.m., giving [most of our firefighters] just enough for a quick nap before getting up to go to their day jobs," he said.

To ensure no fire remained, a small crew returned to the scene in the daylight to ensure any remaining hot spots were out.

In addition to the BRFS, Hove noted that RCMP and EMS were also on the scene, adding the police had started notifying adjacent properties to the east that, depending on wind conditions, they might have to evacuate.

As for the cause of the fire, he said it is difficult to speculate, saying it could have started in several ways, including from a spark from a nearby power line that had partially blown in the wind.

"We have some theories, but nothing we can pinpoint for sure," Hove said. 

Barry Kerton,

Barry Kerton

About the Author: Barry Kerton

Barry Kerton is the managing editor of the Barrhead Leader, joining the paper in 2014. He covers news, municipal politics and sports.
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