A trailer in a big ball of flames is a shocking visual reminder for campers.
Wyoming Firefighters recently conducted a smoke and CO2 Detector blitz at the two trailer parks in Reece’s Corners offering new units to those without them and emphasizing the need to be alerted if something catches fire in the small area. And while most campers had the devices and knew their value, it wasn’t until they saw a fire in action with their own eyes that the message hit home.
Vasey says the owners of Countryview Campground, Eric and Vicki Houlbeck offered the use of an old trailer for training to the department – Eric is a volunteer in Wyoming. After using it for search and rescue, Vasey and Houlbeck came up with the idea of setting it on fire to show people how quickly a fire moves.
Vasey says they mounted the detectors in the trailer and threw a flare into. Within 19 seconds, the alarms went off. Within two minutes, the flames were shooting through the roof, the side and the windows.
“By about a minute and a half we figured no one would be able to survive it,” says Vasey. About 100 people were on hand watching the demonstration. While the fire grew, the deputy fire chief explained even in the best-case scenario, the volunteer firefighters would not even be arriving at the hall yet. It would likely take Wyoming firefighters eight minutes.
“People always say they can’t believe how quickly it spreads…it catches everyone off guard how quickly the fire spreads.
“We, the fire department, are not going to be there in time to save you. That trailer was engulfed in two minutes – in four minutes, we’d just be getting to the hall. In eight minutes we’re rolling in the gate and pulling up on the scene. At eight minutes, that trailer was a complete ball of fire.”
Vasey says that drives home the point that smoke and CO2 detectors save lives.
“If you’re living in one of these things or staying in one of these things, the fire department is not going to come to save you…there just isn’t enough time…you have to save yourself.”
And the chief says that message did hit home with the campers at the demonstration on the Civic Holiday weekend.
“I know we all take smoke detectors down when were cooking something…I’m as guilty as the next guy and next morning I look and ‘oh crap I forgot to put it back up,’” says Vasey. But he had campers tell him after the demonstration “’You know what, I’m putting that thing up right after supper.’”