A number of fire alarms went off in Estevan last week.
Estevan Fire and Rescue Service (EFRS) crews were called to a commercial fire alarm in a hotel in the east-central area of Estevan on Oct. 1. When crews arrived they found out that it was cooking related. There wasn’t much smoke, so firefighters naturally ventilated the building, reset the elevators and ensured it was safe for the occupants to return.
Another commercial fire alarm had EFRS members out in the community on Oct. 3. The device went off in another hotel in the northeast area of the city. Firefighters arrived on the scene and realized that there was a crew down at the hotel verifying their fire alarm and sprinkler system for the annual inspection, but they neglected to call in the monitoring agency.
“We’d like to remind that anytime there is any work that is going with the fire alarm power or the sprinkler system to always call in to the monitoring agency so there is not an accidental or premature call out to the fire department working at response,” said Fire Chief Dale Feser.
About two hours after that call, another fire alarm went off in a multi-family commercial occupancy in the central area of the city.
“Crews did arrive on the scene to find another cooking-related incident there on the main floor,” said Feser, noting that he was impressed with how tenants handled the emergency situation.
“I want to be thankful for all of the tenants within the building that were following the protocol and gathered in the areas that they need to gather in and reported anybody who had not come down to that area so that we had that knowledge and information in hand,” said Feser.
Fortunately, firefighters didn’t need to worry about evacuating the building, as there wasn’t enough smoke that remained inside. They used natural ventilation to get rid of the smoke, reset the fire alarm panel and let people return to their apartments.
ERFS also received a report of a commercial structure fire on the south side of the city just off of Highway 18 in the evening of Sept. 30. Crews arrived and found out that what looked like the smoke coming from one of the buildings on the property, in reality, was steam.
“EFR crews … accessed and found mechanical maintenance men that were on the scene there. They were actually firing up a large commercial boiler for the occupancy, and were … releasing steam from it as part of testing procedures. So we were very thankful to find out there that there was no emergency occurring for that particular occupancy,” said Feser.
On Oct. 5 at about 3 p.m., crews were called out to the concession stand at the ball diamonds off Wellock Road to a reported natural gas leak.
“After a quick 360 degrees survey of the building it was found that there was actually no natural gas service to the building, however, there was an odd smell,” said Feser.
SaskEnergy specialists and firefighters went around the building and once the key holder arrived on the scene, they opened up the building, checked inside and verified that there were no propane or natural gas sources for the building.
“When we opened up the washrooms, it was probably one of the worst cases of the sewer gas that we encountered,” said Feser.
Even though it wasn’t a fire-related case, Feser was thankful to the cautious 911-caller. The matter was reported to the city’s parks and facilities department, so they could fix the problem.
On Oct. 1, crews also spent three hours at the fire station doing their biweekly training.