WDFD fundraisers cancelled, firefighters’ works continues

While fall fundraising events have been cancelled due to COVID rules, the calls to Wallace District Fire Department stations in Virden and Elkhorn continue and the fire department is answering those calls. In fact the department just put in an extremely busy week.

“Our annual fundraising banquet was supposed to happen last weekend, but was cancelled. Also cancelled is our annual bingo at the Legion which was scheduled for Dec. 5,” says Fire Chief Brad Yochim.

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Training and meetings have been suspended while Manitoba is at the Orange, and now Red, level of pandemic response. “The wellbeing of our firefighters is our first priority. All firefighters will wear masks on all calls.”

October was a very slow month for the fire department with three calls, but November got off to busy start with six calls in eight days.

In mid-afternoon on Nov. 4, Elkhorn station assisted McAuley Fire Department at a fire four miles north of Kirkella along Highway 1. The fire started from a brush pile a farmer was burning in high winds.  Firefighters were on scene for four hours with three trucks and six firefighters. McAuley FD had two trucks with four firefighters.

Just hours later, Elkhorn station responded to a structure fire at 2 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Enbridge pumping station near Cromer. Staff on site reported smoke in one of their buildings that housed all electrical controls. Once power was shut off to the building, firefighters entered to investigate. With the fire out, it was discovered that an electrical panel had exploded in the building. Firefighters ventilated the building and turned it over to Enbridge staff.

That evening, at 5 p.m. Virden and Elkhorn stations responded to a structure fire north of Virden. On arrival a small barn was on fire and had collapsed. Firefighters wetted down the barn and surrounding grass. Twenty firefighters from Virden and two from Elkhorn, with six trucks, were on the scene for two hours. The barn was home to two pigs who were not in the barn at the time. The fire started from embers of a previous controlled burn in the yard by the owner, earlier that day.

Freezing rain on Nov. 8, triggered a morning call to a highway accident east of Elkhorn. On the ice-covered highway, Elkhorn firefighters responded to a single vehicle rollover east of the town. The single occupant was out of the vehicle and being cared for by Virden EMS.

On Nov. 10, Virden firefighters responded to an afternoon fire. A skid steer in the Wallace-Woodworth Community Pasture north of Virden caught fire. The remote site was difficult to find and when firefighters located it, they quickly extinguished the fire but the skid steer was a total loss, estimated at $93,000. Six firefighters with three trucks and the all-terrain vehicle responded.

On Nov. 12, at 5:34 p.m. Virden station responded to a two-vehicle crash on King St. in Virden. A truck was stopped, waiting to turn onto First Ave. when a car collided with the truck from behind. There were no injuries. Firefighters did traffic control and pushed the car off King St. to get traffic flowing. Thirteen firefighters responded with three trucks.

Both fire stations remain closed to the public until the pandemic has gone back to Green status. For non-urgent matters, contact the fire department by emailing wdfd1@wcgwave.ca or calling (204) 748-1304. As ever, in an emergency call 911.

© Virden Empire-Advance