This past month has been another busy one with sixteen incidents requiring responses from your fire department:
- Over the noon hour on July 20 a call was received of an accident on Aspelund Road and Range Road 1-0. A tanker truck had blown a tire and left the road next to a bridge, careening down the embankment, narrowly missing the abutment and splashing into the Blindman River. The driver was put into the care of EMS while Ponoka City Fire Department was called on with their hazmat team to contain the fuel spill in the water. Traffic was managed while the truck was pulled out and the scene was turned over to Ponoka's team to finish their cleanup.
- Shortly before 7 that evening seven members were sent to an outside fire on Highway 20. A tree had been struck by lightning and was burning next to a power pole which had fallen against it. Fortis was notified and once the pole was removed the fire self-extinguished.
- At 4:21 early the next morning nine members responded to a vehicle fire on Rainy Creek Road near RR 2-1. Upon arrival the vehicle was completely engulfed. The fire was extinguished. Fortunately no one was inside at the time and no ID was found so it was loaded onto a flatbed for disposal.
- On July 22 at 12:40 pm crews were sent to Highway #20 just south of Bentley where a driver suffering a medical issue had left the southbound lane and hit the ditch with considerable force. First aid was provided while awaiting EMS and the driver and passenger were sent by ambulance to hospital for further evaluation while traffic was controlled in the meantime. Thank you to those who stopped to help.
- Midmorning on July 24 firefighters rushed to Gull Lake where three children were stranded on their kayaks in the stormy water off the shore of Sandy Point. All three were wearing life vests and were reported as having made it to shore before fire crews arrived on the scene.
- Immediately after this call another water rescue call was received at the same location. A Good Samaritan had offered to retrieve the children's kayak and had fallen out of the rescue canoe in the high winds. Parks was called, along with Lacombe FD for use of their boats. The patient was located and quickly plucked from the waves using a bystander's boat, brought to the dock and assessed by EMS.
- On July 30 at 12:45 am, ten members were called to a structure fire at Camp Silversides on Gull Lake. Staff had noticed significant smoke and odour issuing from vents around the fireplace in the dining hall. An investigation was conducted using the TIC (thermal imaging camera) and the problem area on the roof was isolated. The building was turned back over to staff after advising them to have it repaired by a professional.
- On July 31 about 10:30 am crews responded to an alarms call at Blissful Beach. This was declared a non-emergency (cooking incident) and the BFD was stood down en route.
- At 3 pm on July 31 members were sent to an MV fire in Brewer's Campground. Family members had gone to the beach and returned to their site to find their trailer on fire and the tow vehicle and one additional vehicle burning. Firefighters from Lacombe assisted Bentley in dousing the vehicles with water and foam and fortunately no one was injured.
- At 12:28 pm on August 8 crews raced to the scene of an accident on the Medicine Lodge ski hill. A front-end loader bucket had been used to assist with the trimming and mulching maintenance on the slopes. The man driving the machine had parked it and entered the bucket, then the vehicle proceeded to roll downhill, taking its unwilling passenger along for a painful ride. Firefighters secured the scene and tended to the patient while awaiting EMS, then assisted him to a pickup truck for the ride down to the ambulance.
- About suppertime that same day thirteen members responded to a call of a vehicle on fire on Highway #20 north of town. The fire had been put out by a passerby with a fire extinguisher so firefighters used the TIC to determine the origin. The rear differential was discovered to be very hot and leaking fluid. The driver was fortunately uninjured so the car was cooled with a hose stream and the area left in care of the RCMP.
- On August 12 at 12:34 pm another water rescue call was received, this time at the Ebeling Day Use area of Aspen Beach. A swimmer on a dinghy had fallen into the water and had been brought to shore where CPR was being administered. Firefighters assisted EMS with patient care while a STARS landing zone was set up. Despite best efforts the patient passed away.
- Later that afternoon a Citizen Assist call was received, this time at Sandy Point. A child had been locked in a car in the parking area and help was requested for extrication. Fortunately witnesses managed to get into the vehicle quickly and the BFD was stood down.
- That night at 6:38 pm a fluid spill was reported by the RCMP, trailing all the way from the Highway #2 and Highway #12 intersection, along Hwy 12 all the way to Bentley. The BFD was requested as Mutual Aid to Lacombe FD as a precaution, however, possibly due to evaporation, no spill was ever found.
- In the morning of August 19 members were sent to Sylvan Lake where the body of a missing boater had been discovered. Crews were needed to lend a hand, however RCMP stood down firefighters en route as they had the situation managed.
- And later that same afternoon another water rescue call was received. In this instance, eight boaters were left stranded when the engine failed to start. The passengers apparently tried to flag down other boats in the area between Stoner's Landing on the west side and Raymond Shores on the east but no one would stop to help. Both BFD and Ponoka West Fire Departments responded as well as Parks who has a boat. A bystander's boat was borrowed to search the area and once contact was made Bentley left the scene in Ponoka's care.
Please remember, as a recreational boater you have a responsibility to others on the lake. The Criminal Code of Canada states: "A pleasure craft operator must stop and assist another boat(er) when he/she is in distress, as long as it does not place that person, their boat or their passengers in a dangerous position. Law Enforcement officers have the authority to charge boat operators for criminal offences.