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LATEST UPDATE FROM FIRE CHIEF RON HOPE: Kindersley Fire Respond to Marengo Grain Elevator Fire

(Source: Kindersley Fire) LATEST UPDATE : “As Fire Prevention Week comes to a close on the calendar we want to remind everyone that Fire Prevention needs to happen 52 weeks of the year not just one week. This is on our minds more today than ever before because of the past 3 days.

I as Fire Chief for the Town of Kindersley and RM #290 Kindersley feel very blessed to have the best fire crew that a Chief Officer could ever wish for. I’m extremely proud of my team and proud to serve this community. I’m also very blessed to have very skilled fire departments in the region, fire departments that will come to our aid in a moment without giving it a second thought. There is a very strong regional cooperation between fire chiefs and their departments. This is not always the case in every region but in this area, fire chiefs are committed to working together for the benefit of the department and community.

We also have incredible working relations with the RCMP and EMS Services. Again we are proud of the first responder team that serves all of you. We are all committed to doing our absolute best for you.

I feel compelled to share with the community what the first responders have been through in the events of October 8th – 10th.

At 22:45 Oct 8: Kindersley Fire was Dispatched to a grain elevator fire in Marengo. We responded with Command 1, Command 2, Wildland 1, Wildland 2, Wildland 3, Engine 2, Tender 1, Tender 2 and a crew of 13 that included fire fighters and officers.
At 22:54: As we turned West onto Highway 7 from Highway 21 we were getting our first visible signs in the sky ahead that we were headed for a long night.
23:02: Request was made for additional water haulers with a call being put out to Holland’s Hot Oiling
23:09: Oyen Fire was requested for mutual aid
23:12: We requested mutual aid from Kerrobert and Eatonia
23:23: Our units were pulling on scene of a fully involved elevator, annex and other buildings.

Once on scene and having done an initial assessment and 360 degree check of the situation we met with managers of the structures involved to obtain all vital information that we require in order to determine our objectives.

We were told that the building directly next to the elevator (approximately 30 meters away) was an agricultural chemical storage facility. We were told the classes of chemicals and quantities located in the structure. We were also informed of a 500 and 18,000 litre propane bullets on the property.

We asked the RCMP to start an evacuation of the village. A local State of Emergency was declared. The RCMP along with the Village of Marengo and RM of Milton Councils and EMO begin the process of notifying residence to evacuate immediately. The RCMP were going door to door.

SaskPower was asked to shut down all power to the community to remove electrical hazards in the immediate area of the fire and in the event that the worst occurs as the incident unfolds.

SaskEnergy employees were required to dig gas lines and shut them in to remove potential gas leaks.

The windows of the chemical facility were no longer intact due to the extreme heat and fire crews immediately began cooling the chemical structure. There was a high risk of a BLEVE (boiling liquid expanding vapour explosion) occurring in the 500 litre propane cylinder. While crews from Kindersley and Oyen cooled the chemical building, the crew from Kerrobert deployed a master stream (large water line capable of 500 gallons per minute) onto the propane cylinder to keep it cool. Kerrobert and Kindersley then deployed hand lines to try and keep the hoses supplying the master stream from melting. Eatonia was working on cooling and preventing spread of the fire to the east.

01:54 Oct 9th: the wall of the elevator collapsed and cut off all supply lines that were cooling the propane cylinder.

An immediate evacuation of the area was given and all fire crews disconnected their lines leaving them laying on the ground. Crews and apparatus pulled back to highway 7 and went into a hold and wait until the situation became stable.

At approximately 03:46 crews from Oyen, Kerrobert and Eatonia were released.
The propane risk was stable and Kindersley crews returned to the scene and continued to extinguish.

14 hours into the fire the first of our crews were given a rest break. Thank you to Eston fire who sent a crew to man the lines while we had a short rest.

Crews continued to work this fire until 13:14 Oct 10th. Most of our staff had not slept in 30 hours at the time of their first rest brake as they had all worked their day jobs prior to responding.

We were now 37 hours into this call and finally heading for home base. Once back we decontaminated all equipment, washed and hung all hoses and reloaded our apparatus so that we are in a complete state of readiness.

At 15:15 we were back in service. It’s been 39 hours since the initial dispatch. It is for the event above that I say I’m extremely proud of our team, proud of our region and the cooperation among all first responders.

When things are bad, the best in all of us does come out.

Thank you first to my staff (Kindersley Fire) and their families.”

Thank you to ALL who gave assistance:
Kerrobert Fire
Eatonia Fire
Oyen Fire
Eston Fire
Holland’s Hot Oiling
Coutts Water Trucks
Vansickles Water Trucks
RM of Milton
Village of Marengo
Providence Grain
Sibald Hutterite Colony
The track hoe operators and companies
Sask Power
Sask Energy

I’m sure I missed someone and apologize if I’ve missed you. All of the above supplied resources, food etc. into the effort.

Photo Credit: Kindersley Fire

(October 9th, 2020) UPDATE AS OF 6:45 P.M.: Crews are still on the scene dealing with the many hot spots, and are expected to remain on the scene there well into the night and possibly through Saturday. “Crews faced many challenges with two large propane cylinders on location and a agricultural chemical facility located 100 feet from the main fire. The objective was to protect the chemical facility and to prevent the propane cylinders from exploding. Crews were successful on both objectives with no release from the chemical facility or the propane bullets,” said Fire Chief Ron Hope.

UPDATE AS OF 10 a.m.: Kindersley Fire are continuing to do “hot spot” checks as there are a lot of areas that are still smoldering. The crew will continue to be on scene for some time yet.

UPDATE: The fire is currently contained, but the crew will continue to remain on the scene.

Tonight at 10:46 p.m. the Kindersley Fire Department was dispatched to a grain elevator fire at Marengo. Kindersley, Eatonia, Kerrobert, Oyen Fire Departments arrived on the scene. We will keep you posted with details as we learn more.

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