Fire protection needs regionalization, Vince MacKenzie says
The head of the fire services association in Newfoundland and Labrador says communities must co-operate to ensure better fire protection after a fire in Piccadilly Friday night highlighted the issue of fighting fires in unincorporated communities.
Vince MacKenzie, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Fire Services, says regionalization of services is the answer.
"We need a form of regional governance in many of our areas. And of course with that comes regional services, but also with that then comes regional taxation and that's the thing that people don't like," he said.
Only ashes and rubble remain after the family home burned to the ground in the Port au Port Peninsula community.
Trainee firefighters from the Marine Institute in Stephenville drove more than half an hour to get to the fire, but by the time they arrived the house was destroyed even though there was a fire department fifteen minutes away in Lourdes.
The fire department in nearby Lourdes wouldn't respond because Piccadilly is an unincorporated community and doesn't pay fees for fire services.
Volunteer firefighter and Lourdes Mayor Henry Gaudon said his department will respond to fires in Piccadilly, but only if the property owner has paid for that protection.
"Unfortunately we can't provide any service to them because we are leaving the contracted areas unprotected," he said.
The homeowner works away and said she didn't know she could pay for individual fire protection. She's planning to rebuild.
Meanwhile, the Lourdes fire department said they would have fought the fire if someone's life had been in danger.