Amherstburg Fire Department

Damage from Gore St. blaze estimated at $350,000

 

By RTT Staff

 

The cause of the house fire on Gore St. Tuesday morning is undetermined as the Amherstburg Fire Department has concluded its investigation.

The fire department, via Twitter, updated the situation Tuesday evening after the May 10 issue of the River Town Times had gone to press.

“Damage to 170 Gore was so extensive a cause of the fire could not be determined,” the fire department tweeted.

The Amherstburg Fire Department also stated that three adjacent homes to 170 Gore suffered heat damage their exterior. Damage estimate to all of the homes is $350,000.

Working smoke alarm alerted the occupants, the fire department stated.

“Investigation of fire at 170 Gore is completed. Fire originated in main floor laundry room and extended throughout the building,” the fire department added, via Twitter.

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The community is already coming together to help those who lived in the home. Laura Lucier, a former tenant of the home, has started to collect clothing and other good for some of the tenants. She said Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 is accepting some of the donations.

“It was a family downstairs with two little boys,” she said.

Clothing for that family includes request for clothes for one adult male, one adult female and two boys ages three years and six months. Household items, toiletries and monetary donations are also welcome, she noted.

“Neither of the tenants had insurance,” Lucier told the River Town Times. “They literally have nothing.”

For more details, contact Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 at 519-736-4485.

Anyone with details on any other kind of fundraiser or clothing drive for the impacted residents can e-mail the information to mail@rivertowntimes.com.

“Amherstburg is good at pulling together,” said Lucier.

Amherstburg firefighters sharpen skills at Duffy’s property

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Just because Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn is closed, it doesn’t mean it hasn’t been busy.

For the last number of weeks, the Amherstburg Fire Department spent three nights per week at Duffy’s working on various exercises and techniques. The training, which wrapped up last Wednesday night, was largely due to the amount of new firefighters that have been brought into the fold.

Amherstburg firefighters used the former Duffy's Tavern & Motor Inn during recent weeks.

Amherstburg firefighters used the former Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn during recent weeks.

“All three stations did (the training),” said deputy chief Lee Tome. “In the last four months, we’ve hired roughly 20 new firefighters.”

The Amherstburg Fire Department is trying to get everyone up to speed on the standardized training and ensure all three stations have every firefighters fully trained on what is needed and what is mandated by the Ontario Fire College and National Fire Protection Association.

“When the town purchased the Duffy’s property, we asked to use it for practical firefighter training,” said Tome. “The Duffy’s property has been a great training tool for a number of our new firefighters.”

Amherstburg firefighters used the former Duffy's Tavern & Motor Inn during recent weeks.

Amherstburg firefighters used the former Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn during recent weeks.

Tome said they have been able to use Duffy’s to practice such training as forcible entry through walls and doors, ventilation, how to work off a ladder, search and rescue and many other training techniques.

The entire department has been involved, Tome added, noting senior officers and veteran firefighters helped organize and carry out the training. That training would have been more difficult to do if the fire department didn’t have access to the property.

The new firefighters, hired due to the number of retirements in recent years, represent a turnover of about one-third of the Amherstburg Fire Department, Tome said. The training at Duffy’s allowed them to train together with the deputy chief pointing out they would all have to work together in the event of a large fire.

Amherstburg firefighters used the former Duffy's Tavern & Motor Inn during recent weeks.

Amherstburg firefighters used the former Duffy’s Tavern & Motor Inn during recent weeks.

“Our firefighters are dedicated and committed to the town they live in,” said Tome. “The commitment of the senior officers to train the new recruits has been outstanding. We’re well on our way to get everybody trained.”

Tome added that the town can be assured that their firefighters are working hard, are well trained and are dedicated to the community.

“Heavy fire damage” at Gore St. home

A house fire in the 100 block of Gore St. caused damage but it is reported all occupants of the home escaped safely.

Amherstburg firefighters were called to the home, located at 170 Gore St., just after 7:30 a.m. The Amherstburg Fire Department reported “heavy fire damage” to the home.

Both the Amherstburg Fire Department and the Amherstburg Police Service reported that all occupants of the home got out of the house.

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Essex Powerlines were also reporting that the fire caused a power outage. The hydro company tweeted that there was a power outage in Amherstburg due to the fire and live power lines were down affecting King St., Seymour St., Murray St. and Richmond St. Power was restored a few hours later.

There was no word on the cause of the fire or a damage estimate as of press time. The Amherstburg Fire Department stated around 10:15 a.m. that the fire had been put out and fire crews were checking for “hot spots” at that time.

Amherstburg police stated around 2:25 p.m. that Gore St. was reopened to traffic but fire investigators were still on scene.

Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 has taken up a collection for the family impacted. On their Facebook page, the Legion posted “A fire completely destroyed a rental unit on Gore Street this morning. The tenants have lost everything. Branch 157 is seeking the support of its members and the public – Please drop off clothing (2 boys, aged 3 yrs & 6 months), household items, toiletries and monetary donations are welcome. Contact Laura Lucier or the Branch for more details 519-736-4485.”

Amherstburg Fire Department honours retirees, long-serving members

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Fire Department paid tribute to nine retirees and eight long-serving firefighters as part of their annual banquet.

The retirement and awards banquet was held Saturday night with the retirees alone amounting for 264 years of service to the community. Retirees included former deputy chief James Ouellette (46 Years of Service), Frank Beaudoin (45 years), Kenneth Tytgat (35 years), Mike Dikan (30 years), Brian Gibb (26 years), Rodney Ferriss (23 years), Marcy Laframboise (21 years), Rob Taylor (20 years) and Russell Deslippe (18 years).

Also honoured was Al Reaume, who spent his last official day as fire chief Saturday night before re-entering retirement. Essex MP Tracey Ramsey thanked Reaume for the work he put in during his two years as chief and all of the award recipients as well.

Top (left to right) Captain Brad Brush, Firefighter Rob Taylor, Firefighter Tom Morand, Captain Jerry Ferguson, Captain Frank Beaudoin, Captain Paul Bastien, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey. Bottom (left to right) Captain Rick Wismer, District Chief Ken Rose, Firefighter Brian Gibb, Firefighter Marcy Laframboise, Firefighter Ken Tytgat, Chief Al Reaume, Firefighter Rodney Ferriss.

Top (left to right): Captain Brad Brush, Firefighter Rob Taylor, Firefighter Tom Morand, Captain Jerry Ferguson, Captain Frank Beaudoin, Captain Paul Bastien, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey. Bottom (left to right): Captain Rick Wismer, District Chief Ken Rose, Firefighter Brian Gibb, Firefighter Marcy Laframboise, Firefighter Ken Tytgat, Chief Al Reaume, Firefighter Rodney Ferriss.

“I thank you for your service to the community,” said Ramsey.

Ramsey also thanked the families, noting all the time and sacrifices they have to endure in addition to the sacrifices made by the firefighters themselves.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo noted that Reaume was already retired when the town called him to assume command of the department two years ago when it was being restructured. He also praised the firefighters for the job they did during those difficult circumstances.

“You have remained focused, dedicated and professional,” DiCarlo said.

DiCarlo also reiterated what Reaume told the River Town Times in the April 12 issue. Reaume’s quote was: “The firefighters here are phenomenal. They’ll give you 100 per cent. They are doing the job for the right reasons.”

Leading is not always glamorous, the mayor added, and said Reaume came to Amherstburg in less than ideal circumstances. Despite the workload or challenges Reaume was faced with, DiCarlo said the chief was “unflappable” and did his job professionally.

“Amherstburg is a better place because of you and we wish you well as you go back into retirement,” DiCarlo told Reaume.

Chief Al Reame presents Capt. Rick Wismer (right) with the Fire Chief’s Medal of Excellence during the Amherstburg Fire Department's award banquet April 22.

Chief Al Reame presents Capt. Rick Wismer (right) with the Fire Chief’s Medal of Excellence during the Amherstburg Fire Department’s award banquet April 22.

Reaume also presented Capt. Rick Wismer with the Fire Chief’s Medal of Excellence. Wismer was getting ready to head to a medical call in the early morning hours of July 15, 2016 when he looked across the road from Station 2 and saw a house on fire. The residents were still sleeping because, as Reaume stated, the fire started in the garage and went into the attic thus going above where the working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms were situated. Wismer checked the home and was able to get the family out safely.

Wismer said it goes to show what the firefighters learn and that they fall back on their training in emergency situations.

“It’s very special,” he said, of receiving the medal. “Some people go a career without receiving something like this. I wasn’t expecting it for sure.”

Receiving the award from Reaume was special as well, Rick Wismer added, with Reaume being “like a father figure to us.”

Rick Wismer also received his 20 year service medal with other medals and bars going to Paul Bastien (45 years), Jerry Ferguson (35 years), Bradley Brush (30 years), Dikan (30 years), Tom Morand (20 years), Ken Rose (20 years) and Taylor (20 years).

Rose, a district chief, and Capt. Randy Wismer paid tribute to the other retirees. Randy Wismer said Beaudoin has been through many changes over the years and said his life is “honestly a remarkable life of service” and one that people should aspire to. Wismer called Ferriss someone who was honest and bold and also “a welcome sight to see on fire calls when I was promoted to captain.”

Laframboise was Amherstburg’s first female firefighter and Wismer noted that while there were challenges, she met them and became an important asset. He praised Laframboise for her work at medical calls.

Rose called Dikan a “wizard” who knew the capabilities of what could be done. Deslippe is a “super loyal guy” who was very knowledgeable and a person who “had your back” at fire calls.

Tytgat proved to be a “very versatile guy” at fire calls, Rose continued, and was also a good person when it came to organizing fire safety initiatives and Christmas parties. Gibb is funny, endearing and a “jokester” while Taylor was a “real pro” who took special interest in auto extrication and sharing his knowledge with his fellow firefighters.

The retirees in attendance made a few comments of their own, with Tytgat thanking all of his colleagues at Station 3. He added the spouses and families deserved a lot of credit as well for the sacrifices they make.

“We’ve got a good group of firefighters at all three fire stations,” said Gibb, adding the residents can be proud of the dedication of their firefighters.

Beaudoin said he was proud and honoured to work with his fellow firefighters and said his career went by quickly.

“It goes by fast, especially when you enjoy what you do,” said Beaudoin.

Laframboise said she was proud to be able to work with the Amherstburg Fire Department.

“It was an honour to have met you all and work with you all,” said Laframboise.

Taylor also praised the firefighters and encouraged everyone to “keep up the good work” while Ferriss said he will have nothing but good memories from his time on the fire department.

Bruce Montone, the new chief of the Amherstburg Fire Department, said he was struck by the “sense of family” that exists within the department.

“I am very honored to have been given the opportunity to work with you and earn my place hopefully as part of your family,” Montone told the large crowd at the AMA Sportsmen Club. “I hope very much to do that.”

Montone said when new firefighters are brought on, they bring a “two-for-one” value as their spouses also come as part of the package.

Reaume recalled the accomplishments in his two years as chief, including complying with the 23 orders from the Ministry of Labour, upgrading and servicing equipment with the help of town council, establishing health and safety committees and correcting about 175 deficiencies they found, initiating an Ontario Fire Marshal review with the goal to help with training, getting $30,000 from the Ministry of Health to assist with emergency management and partnering with the Rotary Club on a carbon monoxide detector project.

Deputy Chief Lee Tome said he worked with Reaume for 33 years and worked with Montone for five years and “I can assure you we are going to continue the progress we’ve made.” Tome agreed that “firefighters are doing it for the right reasons” and also praised the families.

“I enjoy it here so much,” said Tome. “It’s been such a great experience.”

 

Former Windsor fire chief looking forward to starting in Amherstburg

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Bruce Montone may have retired as fire chief in Windsor but he has no plans on leaving firefighting.

Montone was officially named as the new fire chief in Amherstburg and will start his new duties April 24. Current fire chief Al Reaume will resume his retirement at that point.

“You can’t believe how much I’m looking forward to it,” Montone told the RTT prior to Monday night’s council meeting.

Montone’s contract with Windsor expired at the end of March but he decided he didn’t want to leave firefighting altogether.

“I decided that retirement won’t fit me very well, at least not yet,” he said.

Montone said he has seen the work Reaume has done in Amherstburg since coming on in 2015 and the “significant changes” the Amherstburg Fire Department has embarked upon and that made his decision to come to Amherstburg somewhat easier.

After talking to Reaume, he spoke with CAO John Miceli about the position and talks progressed to where Montone agreed to take the chief’s job in Amherstburg.

Bruce Montone, who retired as Windsor fire chief March 31, is the new Amherstburg fire chief. He assumes his new duties April 24.

Bruce Montone, who retired as Windsor fire chief March 31, is the new Amherstburg fire chief. He assumes his new duties April 24.

“It was not a difficult discussion (with Miceli), let’s put it that way,” said Montone.

Montone had a five-year contract with Windsor but said he agreed to extended it to have a transition put in place. Now that the transition in Windsor has come to fruition, he said he is coming to Amherstburg to continue the work Reaume started and to “continue to move the department in the direction he set.”

One of the major priorities for Montone will be the creation of a new master fire plan for Amherstburg.

“Obviously, we are going to need significant input,” said Montone, noting the input has to come from the firefighters and the public at large. “It’s very, very important to listen to what the community expects of their fire service. We want to hear what the public thinks and expects for the next five to ten years.”

That plan will also see the input of the province and town council, he added.

The incoming chief has nearly 41 years of experience including stops in municipalities similar in size to Amherstburg. He has been a volunteer firefighter, a career firefighter, a fire prevention officer and fire chief in northern Ontario. Montone worked with the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office from 1987-2002 and was also a deputy fire chief in Ottawa where he was responsible for the communications division, special operations division, comprised of Haz-Mat/CBRNE, all rescue activities including water and ice, auto-extrication, high angle, confined space, trench and USAR Operations. His biography includes stating that the Divisions of Fire Prevention, Training, Safety, and Maintenance were also part of his portfolio.

“My impression of the town of Amherstburg is that there is a huge amount of community pride and commitment by its residents. People in Amherstburg are very proud of what they have,” he said, adding he believes his career has come full circle.

Miceli also outlined Montone’s qualifications, including an Ontario Public Safety Award and the Fire Chief of the Year Award, the latter being from the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs. Both of those awards came in 2016.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said Reaume expressed a desire to go back into retirement and Miceli was aware of Montone’s contract expiring in Windsor. He noted that the timing was perfect as it is also time for the new master fire plan and Montone could start on it from the beginning rather than taking over mid-stream.

DiCarlo said Montone has a “very healthy CV” and believes Amherstburg is very well situated with both Montone and deputy chief Lee Tome at the helm.

Fire chief Al Reaume (left) receives a plaque from Mayor Aldo DiCarlo during Monday night’s town council meeting. Reaume was recognized for his two years of service to the town. He retires April 24.

Fire chief Al Reaume (left) receives a plaque from Mayor Aldo DiCarlo during Monday night’s town council meeting. Reaume was recognized for his two years of service to the town. He retires April 24.

“(Montone) has got a pretty decorated past as far as firefighting goes,” said DiCarlo.

DiCarlo added that Montone has retired from Windsor, not from firefighting and that by the time Montone is ready to leave Amherstburg, the town’s fire department will be in a better position in terms of succession planning from within.

Reaume’s last official function for the department will be the awards banquet April 22 and Montone will take over as chief officially two days later.

As for his retirement, “I’m going back to do what I was doing when I got the call (about coming to Amherstburg) – I’m going back to playing golf.”

Reaume only planned to stay for one year but with provincial orders not complete at that time, he stayed for another year to ensure those orders were dealt with.

“It’s been extremely positive,” he said of his time in Amherstburg. “The firefighters here are phenomenal. They’ll give you 100 per cent. They are doing the job for the right reasons.”

Reaume told council that “we’ve come a long way” since he took over in 2015, noting it was “a rocky start.”

The 45-year firefighting veteran also said the “timing is just right” to retire again, noting Montone can start fresh with the master fire plan. When he was approached about his thoughts about the town hiring Montone, he said the latter was “the perfect replacement for me.”