A smartphone glitch left Kennebecasis Valley firefighters, who were battling a major fire, waiting for back-up personnel for more than an hour, according to a new report.
Early on Aug. 24, every on-duty Kennebecasis Valley firefighter was battling a major house fire on Rothesay Road.
With the situation deteriorating, the firefighters put out a second alarm to bring off-duty firefighters back in so they could relieve the first crew.
But an hour later, with the firefighters who were trying to contain the fire now exhausted, the back-up crew had still not arrived.
Fire Chief Bill Ireland said the problem started with a new set of BlackBerry smartphones that had just been received by the officers.
'We were the victim of bad timing that evening.' - Fire Chief Bill Ireland
The department, however, had not properly set up the devices and they had not been tested before the fire.
So the text messages to the sleeping off-duty firefighters asking for back-up assistance were not received.
Ireland said the fire department reverted to calling the firefighters by phone and used mutual assistance to bring a Saint John fire crew in for relief.
"We subsequently solved the problem. It's worked successfully two times since that incident,” Ireland said.
“We were the victim of bad timing that evening."
Ireland said the smartphone problem had no impact on the outcome of the fire.