After this weekís devastating fire in Madeira Park, it seems an even better time than usual to thank the community-minded men and women who volunteer their time and talents to our local fire departments.
Itís amazing to read that only 35 minutes transpired from the time the Sechelt Fire Department got the call from their colleagues in Pender Harbour until the Sechelt men and women were on the job. From all accounts it was the timely and competent response from the Pender Harbour Fire Department that saved Pender Harbour Hotel and Grasshopper Pub from being completely destroyed. We agree whole-heartedly with Frank Mauro, the Area A directorís praise for the firefighters. Their response was indeed fabulous and a major team effort.
That didnít come about by magic. Their department, like every other one on the Coast, functions so well under pressure because of the many hours dedicated each year to learning their unpaid profession.
Men and women put aside family time and in some cases take unpaid leave from their day jobs to fight fires and practise diligently each week to know what to do when a catastrophe strikes. It canít be said often enough ó thank you to each and every one of the members of the fire departments on the Coast who are willing to forego leisure time and risk their own lives to protect us. In an area so geographically spread out as ours, itís incredible that each area has its own department.
To the people of Pender Harbour and the north end of the peninsula, it will come as good news that the owner of the hotel and pub, Birkram Brar, plans to rebuild the well-known landmark. Itís great news for the 16 people who were suddenly jobless after Mondayís blaze. The building is important not only for its financial impact on the community but also for its social significance. Long looked upon as a meeting place for locals, the loss will be felt in the area.
From all reports the fire was accidental and at this early stage in the investigation it appears to have been caused by an electrical problem.
We hope this is the last fire we have to report on for a long time. In the meantime, we add our voice to those of the professionals who stress the need for functioning smoke alarms. Remember to replace the batteries yearly and test the viability of the unit periodically. For other timely tips, read our feature in todayís paper.
None us ever want to meet a firefighter professionally, but if we do itís good to know the Coast is in such good hands. Thank you hardly seems adequate.