Provincial government ready to support Lodge Bay after fire, says Lisa Dempster

A fire last week destroyed three buildings in Lodge Bay, where fire equipment was not functioning and support was needed from other communities.

Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair MHA said she's been in the community and is in communication with leaders

The fire in Lodge Bay last week spread quickly and destroyed three buildings. (Submitted)

The seriousness of last week's fire in Lodge Bay has highlighted the importance of community organization and co-operation to prevent future incidents, Lisa Dempster says.

Dempster, the MHA for Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair, said she visited Lodge Bay on Saturday afternoon and has been in contact with community members since. 

"Folks are to be commended for the way they dealt with it," she said, pointing to both the community's efforts and the support Lodge Bay received from both Red Bay and Mary's Harbour.

When the fire started on Thursday, the local fire brigade found that its two pump engines wouldn't work, and an ATV to transport equipment like hoses wouldn't start. The town's volunteer firefighters also lacked the proper safety attire, having no fire-retardant pants and boots that didn't fit.

The town doesn't have a fire hydrant, so volunteer firefighters had to wait for help to arrive from Mary's Harbour, about 10 kilometres away, and Red Bay, about 80 kilometres away.

The fire destroyed three buildings, and a fourth was knocked down to prevent the loss of a home.

Working on new equipment

Dempster said she has been talking with community members and Lodge Bay's chair of local service about what the community needs. 

"They're not looking for a fire truck, a pumper truck, a rescue unit — that's not on their list," said Dempster, who added that she has spoken with Municipal Affairs Minister Derrick Bragg to let him know an application for equipment support will come in.

MHA Lisa Dempster says the provincial government is ready to support the community, and that she is in communication with people in Lodge Bay. (CBC)

Lodge Bay is part of the NunatuKavut Community Council, and Dempster said that is another option for support. 

"A lot of times you bring partners to the table and it's the most efficient way to maybe expedite some funds into the community," she said.

The community has also met to restructure its fire brigade, which now has 22 members a number Dempster said is impressive for a small town of only about 70 people.

In the meantime, people are being cautious, she said, and the community organized walk-bys to watch for flare-ups after the fire last week. Mary's Harbour has also agreed to continue to provide support during the wait for equipment, she said.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Jacob Barker and Peter Cowan