Amherstburg Fire Department

ACS participates in the “March for Meals” to highlight Meals on Wheels program



By Ron Giofu


Local dignitaries from Amherstburg and LaSalle helped Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) highlight the Meals on Wheels program last week.

Amherstburg fire chief Bruce Montone joined volunteers in Amherstburg while LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya joined police and fire officials and volunteers in LaSalle.

“This day is to bring awareness to the community of our Meals on Wheels program,” said ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

DiBartolomeo said the “March for Meals” highlights the fact that people are now able to live independently in their own homes longer. She also noted that Meals on Wheels does not have to be a long-term commitment for people, as it can also be used on a short-term basis for people recovering from surgery or those needing it for other reasons if only for a brief time.

Austin Tyrrell, fundraising co-ordinator and community awareness co-ordinator with ACS, said they want to educate the community on the service and the fact it is not only for older adults.

Amherstburg fire chief Bruce Montone holds three totes used for Meals on Wheels. At left is Amherstburg Community Services executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

Montone said the Amherstburg Fire Department gets involved as they use it as a way to get into homes and ensure people are safe. While visiting with Meals on Wheels clients, Montone also checked smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they were in proper working order.

“It’s sort of a natural fit between ACS and our organization,” said Montone. “It’s become a natural partnership.”

ACS helps provide people “the basics of life,” Montone continued, and the Amherstburg Fire Department helps by making sure the residents are safe. In addition to checking smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, they also take other fire safety measures by making sure there aren’t any combustibles near appliances and that clutter isn’t an issue.

Both DiBartolomeo and Montone state that the carbon monoxide detector program, initiated last year with the assistance of the Amherstburg Rotary Club, is still ongoing and that people can call the Amherstburg Fire Department at 519-736-6500 or ACS at 519-736-5471 if they know of people in need.

Debbie Vigneux serves up one of the meals served in the Meals on Wheels kitchen at ACS.

“This is a way to make sure family and friends are also protected,” said Montone. “We need to think of the most vulnerable all year long.”

The “March for Meals” also allows ACS to showcase their other services as well, with DiBartolomeo stating people can always contact their office to see what other services are available.

“They can always call and get more information,” said DiBartolomeo.

People can also drop by at 179 Victoria St. S. or visit

Local dignitaries helped participate in the “March for Meals” March 21. From left: Amherstburg Community Services executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo, Meals on Wheels volunteer Patricia Baker, Amherstburg fire chief Bruce Montone and Marlene Turkington.

Marlene Turkington, one of the Meals on Wheels clients visited last Wednesday morning, said she is impressed by not only Meals on Wheels, but the variety of programs ACS offers.

“I really think a lot of it,” she said. “There’s so many different things you can do.”

Turkington said she uses ACS for a number of different services. She also spoke highly of the volunteers that bring her food to her home for Meals on Wheels.

“The volunteers are very, very good,” she said. “It’s nice to have people checking up on you when they bring your food. You get some visitation as well.”

Amherstburg Fire Department reminding public to change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide alarms


Special to the RTT

Clocks will spring forward one hour at 2 a.m. Sunday and the Amherstburg Fire Department is recommending residents install new batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms when they change their clocks.

“In order for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to do their job, they need to have working batteries,” explained Fire Chief Bruce Montone. “Once a year, old batteries should be replaced with new batteries. When you change your clocks on March 11, the Amherstburg Fire Department wants everyone to take the time to install new batteries in all alarms.”

In order to survive a fire, the public needs to be provided with an early warning and know what to do when the smoke alarms sound. Working smoke alarms are required on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas, the Amherstburg Fire Department states. For added protection, fire officials also recommended to also install smoke alarms inside all bedrooms.

Carbon monoxide alarms must be installed outside all sleeping areas if your home has a fuel-burning appliance, fireplace or attached garage.

Tampering with or removing the batteries from your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms is against the law, the fire department noted in a press release. Failure to comply with the Ontario Fire Code can result in a ticket for $360 or a fine of up to $50,000.

Fire chief enthused after meeting minister regarding nuclear program



By Ron Giofu


The town’s fire chief and emergency management co-ordinator is pleased after leading a delegation to Queen’s Park last week to discuss Amherstburg’s nuclear plan.

Bruce Montone, deputy fire chief Lee Tome and town clerk Paula Parker travelled to Toronto last Wednesday evening to meet Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Marie-France Lalonde and Montone came away happy with the meeting.

“It was awesome,” Montone told the River Town Times last Friday. “She was attentive and kind. She challenged some of our issues and that gave us an opportunity to provide additional information, which she seemed to appreciate.”

Montone said he was encouraged by the meeting and the Amherstburg delegation was told that if they don’t hear anything from the province within three weeks, they can contact the minister’s office. He said the town wants to be on a level playing field as any other Ontario municipality that has a nuclear plant nearby.

“Our meeting focused on five specific areas,” said Montone. “The overarching message is that we want to be treat equitably.”

Funding was “at the top of the list” with discussions taking place on the types of assistance that could be available to the town. Montone added they spent “a great deal of time” discussing the roles and responsibilities the province and town will have under the Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan (PNERP).

“There’s quite a lot of changes in who is responsible for what,” he said.

There will also be work on a new “concept of operations” with the province and they  also will be working with the Ontario government on a revised Fermi II implementation plan. The latter has not been updated since 2009, said Montone.

The Town of Amherstburg’s nuclear plan was the subject of a recent meeting with Minister Marie-France Lalonde.

Amherstburg’s public alerting system was also spoken about as enhancements are required, the fire chief added, and public education was also raised during the meeting in Toronto. The Ontario government will also enter into a new agreement with Fermi II, Montone stated.

“The province is going to undertake a new agreement between the State of Michigan, DTE (the owners of Fermi II) and the province,” said Montone. “We talked about how we can collaborate and be involved in the process.”

The word “collaboration” was emphasized by Montone on how the relationship with the Ontario government will be going forward.

“I’m really happy,” Montone said of the meeting. “We covered a lot of ground.”

The meeting had been scheduled for 45-60 minutes but lasted over two hours, he added, and Lalonde was “extremely patient” and gained “a robust understanding of all the challenges” that Amherstburg faces.

“I’m very comfortable when I tell you that the province and her ministry are going to work closely in the near future to get us where we need to be,” Montone stated. “I’m very, very optimistic going forward.”

While there could be movement to resolve some of Amherstburg’s outstanding issues, Montone cautioned that fixing them completely will take time.

“We can’t fix this overnight,” he said. “It’s been this way since 1998.”

While Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and CAO John Miceli were unable to join them for the meeting, Montone said the group that did go to Queen’s Park had their full support. He added there was a debriefing of the meeting with Miceli last Thursday.

Local nuclear plan discussed with province, more meetings to come



By Ron Giofu


Emergency officials in Amherstburg recently held a meeting with the province to discuss its nuclear plan with more questions arising from the meeting.

Bruce Montone, Amherstburg’s fire chief and emergency management co-ordinator, met with provincial officials recently to discuss the plan and how the Ontario government can support the municipality.

“It was a positive discussion,” said Montone. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have a lot of time.”

The discussion centered mainly on the Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan (PNERP) and the differences between the 2009 version and the new one.

“There’s still a lot of unanswered questions,” he said.

Montone indicated there are indications the province will take on monitoring and decontamination responsibilities in the event of an incident, but added there are still questions on how that would be rolled out.

“The challenge is how are they going to handle this,” said Montone.

There are concerns over the timeline of events should an incident happen, noting it could take upwards of 12 hours to get to Amherstburg. The support could be in the form of expertise and there are also questions on how it could be funded.

There are also challenges regarding public notification and alerts. The sirens will need improvements, Montone indicated.

“Our current system is quite old and requires upgrades,” he said.

Portions of the primary zone can’t hear the sirens, Montone added. Cost is also a factor as is who is going to fund it.

The Fermi II nuclear power plant gives $25,000 to support annual emergency planning efforts in Amherstburg. However, fire chief and community emergency planning co-ordinator Bruce Montone is calling for help from the provincial government.

The potassium iodide (KI) pills are another issue that has to be resolved, he stated. KI pills help prevent the development of thyroid cancer, and are effective at safeguarding children’s thyroid glands and Montone said those pills would be on the way soon. The plan is for all residents in the primary zone to get a KI pill with people in the secondary zone eligible to receive one upon request.

The town is working with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) on providing the pills to the town.

“The KI pills have been ordered. We expect them sometime in early March,” said Montone. “We’re working on how they are going to be distributed.”

The WECHU ordered the pills through the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Montone said, and have a shelf life of ten years. Who pays for replacing them is another issue.

“Those kinds of logistics have to be worked out,” said Montone.

Fermi II, which has a different type of reactor than the Canadian nuclear plants, will be getting involved in the implementation planning including the Ministry of Transportation’s traffic plans. The latter plans also involve the town and neighbouring municipalities.

The January meeting was a good one, he suggested, but there is more work to come.

“My overall impression is positive but there are many more unanswered questions,” stated Montone.

There will be another meeting with Minister Marie-France Lalonde later this month, he added.

“We will continue to raise our issues with her,” said Montone.

The town’s plight for support of its nuclear emergency plan was also discussed last week as part of the TVO program “The Agenda.” The show is available through the network’s website at with the direct link being

Fire in Crown Ridge subdivision deemed “suspicious”


By Ron Giofu


The investigation is continuing into a fire in the Crown Ridge subdivision that the Amherstburg Fire Department has deemed “suspicious.”

Fire crews were called to the 300 block of Ridgeview Pl. North Thursday afternoon at approximately 4:45 p.m. Firefighters started an “interior fire attack” to combat the blaze, with the Amherstburg Fire Department reporting via its Twitter account that heavy smoke was showing around 5 p.m.

No one was in the home upon the arrival of the Amherstburg Fire Department but someone was outside the home. Deputy Fire Chief Lee Tome said the fire was confined to one unit of the two unit building.

The fire was declared out just before 7 p.m. and the Amherstburg Fire Department says the fire damage was contained to the main floor with water damage reported to the main floor and basement. There was smoke damage to the main and second floor.

The damage estimate is $75,000.

There were no injuries and there is no word yet as to the origin and cause.

The Amherstburg Police Service stated in a press release Friday afternoon that officers were dispatched to the home around 4:30 p.m. “to check on the well-being of an individual.”

Amherstburg police states that, upon arrival, officers located the person in question but while on scene, smelled smoke in the residence. Police say it was determined there was a fire in the residence and the Amherstburg Fire Department was dispatched to the residence.

The Amherstburg Police Service confirmed that the fire was deemed “suspicious” by the Amherstburg Fire Department and police is investigating the matter.

The individual at the residence was transported to hospital for assessment, police add.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Amherstburg Police Service at 519-736-3622 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 519-258-8477 (TIPS). People can also relay information online at