Mobile command unit to be unveiled


The Fort Frances Fire and Rescue Service will be holding an open house demonstration of its new emergency mobile command unit tomorrow afternoon at the fire hall (adjacent to the Civic Centre).
Fire Chief Gerry Armstrong, who also is the Community Emergency Management Co-ordinator (CEMC), said the town received the new unit in March, adding the former mobile command unit dated back to 1975 and needed to be replaced.
He noted the purchase of the new unit was made possible through “tremendous support” of mayor and council, as well as funding received from the Federal Joint Emergency Preparedness Program (JEPP).
Chief Armstrong said the mobile command unit is very useful in an emergency situation, such as the J.W Walker fire of 2008, or a natural disaster.
It is a base of operations that can be set up anywhere and is self-sufficient with its own generator, furnace, lighting, communications equipment, tables, desks, and more.
“Because those events fortunately don’t happen often, it has a number of other uses, as well,” Chief Armstrong added.
“We’ve been utilizing it at our training site for training purposes, and we will certainly use it at any [fire] event that goes more than two hours,” he explained.
For example, the mobile command unit has washroom facilities, and is an area firefighters and other emergency personnel could go for a break if they’ve been working hard at a scene for hours on end.
The old mobile command unit has sat at the Fort Frances Power Corp. yard in the north end of town for the past four years.
“It wasn’t mechanically sound,” Chief Armstrong said. “We weren’t able to get it on the road—that was the biggest issue.”
The old mobile command unit was auctioned off late last year, along with a fire truck.
The open house will run from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Beverages and snacks will be available.
In other news, firefighters responded to a report of smoke at a multi-residential building on the 100 block of Third St. W. on Saturday night.
Firefighters responded to a call at 10:16 p.m. to find smoke coming from the some of the windows of the basement apartment in the home.
It turned out to be a cooking pot that had been left on the stove and overheated, filling the apartment with smoke, said Chief Armstrong.
This resulted in smoke damage to the apartment and minimal fire damage, confined to the cooking area.
Chief Armstrong noted the occupant was taken to hospital to be checked out for smoke inhalation.
Firefighters were on the scene for about an hour.