There have also been two fires
south of Florence
Officials in Dawn-Euphemia are calling on people to be vigilant and keep an eye out for strange cars after six fires in the community the last few days.
The fires in Dawn-Euphemia are only part of a wider problem with three fires in Brooke-Alvinston last night and two fires south of Florence in the Bothwell area Sunday.
In all cases the fires were in abandoned buildings – old homes or barns – which were in disrepair, on a remote road and usually the building is not far from the road.
The fires started March 17, when an abandoned farmhouse on Langbank Line caught fire late in the afternoon. Sunday, a barn on Bentpath Line near Cairo, owned by Dawn-Euphemia Councillor Bill Bilton, was found in flames. Initally, officials thought it might have been struck by lightening but for now the cause is listed as unknown.
There were also two fires in abandoned buildings south of Florence in Chatham-Kent Sunday night.
Early Wednesday morning, Alvinston Firefighters went into Dawn-Euphemia on Aughrim Line just off Nauvoo Road to put out a fire at a wood-frame house that was engulfed in flames.
Dawn-Euphemia Fire Chief Dave Williams says firefighters “stumbled across” another fire site – an abandoned two car garage on Forest Road – yesterday. As with the other fires, the OPP was on scene to look into it as well.
Then last night, firefighters in the region were kept busy by fires in four abandoned homes in Central Lambton.
Inwood Firefighters with the help of volunteers from Dawn-Euphemia put out a fire in an abandoned house on McAuslan Road.
And Alvinston fire crews handled three fires – one on Ebenezer Road near Lasalle and two on Old Walnut Road. The crew of 15 was first called out at 1:30 am. Deputy Chief Kris Redick says they would return to the station to clean up the trucks only to be called out again.
The firefighters were just getting ready to leave around 8 am this morning after putting out the three fires.
Redick says Alvinston has asked the Ontario Fire Marshal to investigate and they should know later today if that will happen. “It’s more likely than not with the circumstances…we do expect them to come,” he says.
Chief Williams is worried about the rash of fires. “We’re going to be out on a nuisance call…and someone is going to call who really needs our help and our resources will be tied up,” he says.
And he’s concerned about what could happen next. “If this escalates, if they don’t just get their kicks from watching abandoned buildings burn and they start on places people live – that’s my concern.”
Williams and the other chiefs in the area will be getting together Sunday to talk about the spate of fires in abandoned buildings.
In the meantime, Dawn-Euphemia Mayor Al Broad is asking his residents to keep their eyes open. “Be vigilant of any strange traffic running around on the back roads…if they see something suspicious, call it in.”
And Broad voiced thanks and concern for all the volunteers who have been dealing with the fires. He’s hoping today’s fires will be the end of it before someone gets hurt. “My first concern is the safety of the firemen; someone is going to get hurt over this stuff,” he says.
“I want my guys to get home safe after every fire.”