Amherstburg Fire Department

Investigation ongoing into Malden Hill Dr. fire



By Ron Giofu


The investigation is continuing into a fire that occurred Wednesday night on Malden Hill Dr.

All three stations from the Amherstburg Fire Department responded to the call, which came in around 8:15 p.m. Assistant deputy fire chief Ron Meloche said crews were on hand until “close to midnight” putting the fire out.

The Ontario Fire Marshal’s (OFM) office was in Amherstburg later in the week to further investigate the fire. No damage estimate or cause was available as of press time, with fire officials stating that is part of the Ontario Fire Marshal’s investigation.

A 54-year-old Amherstburg man was transported to hospital with injuries. Meloche said the extent of the injuries was unknown and that he was the only person injured as a result of the fire.

More details are expected to be released upon the conclusion of the OFM’s investigation.

Firefighters hold annual “Stuff a Fire Truck” toy drive



By Christian Bouchard


For the fifth straight year, a fire truck was stuffed with toys for local families in need.

Mark Stock, a local firefighter in Amherstburg helped organize the annual Amherstburg “Stuff a Fire Truck” toy drive.

The toy drive is set up so local businesses and citizens can buy or donate toys to families within the community who are in need during the holiday seasons.

Once the toys are bought, Stock then drives a firetruck to various pickup locations throughout town to collect the toys. Each year, Stock said he is blown away with the generosity of the community.

“When we distribute the gifts, we get families in tears for their children,” said Stock. “It makes a huge difference in people’s lives.”

Movati was one of the stops on the “Stuff a Fire Truck” toy drive.

According to Stock, the gifts are distributed directly to the parents rather than the children with the intention of the parents to wrap the gifts and put them under the tree to keep the magic of Christmas alive.

“Imagine a parent on Christmas morning not having any presents for their kids and how bad they’d feel,” added Stock.

Stock made stops at multiple locations to pick up the gifts for the drive. Due to a large number of gifts, he eventually had to drop off the presents at the fire station in between trips as the toys donated wouldn’t fit in the fire truck.

“Every year it’s overwhelming the number of donations we receive from the people of Amherstburg,” said Stock.

Stock noted how thankful he was for the people of Amherstburg for giving from both their pockets and hearts. The firefighter said he loves the toy drive and wishes it continues to bring joy.

“It makes me feel like Santa days like today.”


Local store helps out with toys for Amherstburg Fire Department’s toy drive



By Ron Giofu


A local clothing store’s fashion show has turned into a Christmas donation that will benefit local children.

Déjà Vu New 2’s fashion show at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 in November generated the $500 that was used to purchase toys for local children. Store owner Kim Malega planned the fashion show with staff members Karen Sauro and Marita Wistuba but noted it was the generosity of her customers, including those who attended the fashion show, that made the donation possible.

“They did a great job. I’m proud of them,” said Malega. “We’ll do it again next year.”

Malega was pleased that the toys will stay local, adding they had a good time raising the money and enjoyed giving back to the town.

“The ladies that come in here are awesome,” she added. “They really get behind the store.”

Firefighters Adam Mann (left) and Mark Stock (right) accept Christmas gifts from Deja Vu New 2, represented by Marita Wistuba and Kim Malega.

The toys were picked up by members of the Amherstburg Fire Department. The Amherstburg Firefighters Association, who represents the members at the local fire department, are hosting their “Stuff a Fire Truck” toy drive again this year.

“It’s distributed through the Goodfellows and there are other families in need that contact us but are not through the Goodfellows,” explained Firefighter Mark Stock.

Stock and Firefighter Adam Mann were on hand Friday to pick up the toys from Déjà Vu New 2.

“We’re still looking for donations. We need donations for young teens. That’s where we are short,” said Stock.

Suggestions for young teens include retail gift cards, movie passes, electronics and manicure and spa certificates. The “Stuff a Fire Truck” toy drive includes youth up to 15-years-old, said Stock.

New, unwrapped toys will be accepted at any of the three Amherstburg fire halls or at Canadian Tire, Movati Fitness or the Amherstburg Health Care Centre. Please do not donate stuffed animals. Cash donations are accepted, however.

Fire Prevention Week marked in Amherstburg



By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Fire Department opened its doors to the public last week and also taught some lessons on fire safety.

Each of the three fire stations held open houses as part of Fire Prevention Week with Station #3 being last Tuesday, Station #2 being last Wednesday while Station #1 had its open house last Thursday evening. Assistant deputy fire chief Ron Meloche said they were busy last week in local schools as well with that expected to continue this week.

“We’re doing schools this week and next week,” he said at last Wednesday’s open house at Station #2. “We’re hoping to visit with 1,500 to 2,000 students.”

Quinly Haggerty, Aiden O’Neil, Gavin Haggerty and Jaxon Haggerty stand at the front of a fire truck at Station 2 (Anderdon) as part of Fire Prevention Week. The Amherstburg Fire Department held open houses at all three stations.

Meloche added the open houses were also part of Fire Prevention Week with the public able to come in, see what they do and get tips on fire safety. The theme of this year’s Fire Prevention Week was “Look, Listen, Learn” and Meloche said it helps that the messages are changed every year so children learn more each year.

“We’re giving messages every year and trying to promote fire safety,” he said.

Adults can also learn about fire safety, including about smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, when to replace them and a reminder to change the batteries regularly.

“We’re really trying to educate the kids and the parents,” said Meloche.

Levi Koolen enjoys his time behind the wheel of a fire truck Oct. 10. The Amherstburg Fire Department held open houses at all three stations as part of Fire Prevention Week.

Meloche added that there are those who move to Amherstburg and think the town has a full-time service only to learn it is a part-time, volunteer service. Others think they only go to calls and Meloche said Fire Prevention Week was also a chance to get a better understanding on what goes into being a firefighter and what the Amherstburg Fire Department does.

“It’s really about reaching out to the public, showing them what we do and teach them about fire safety,” he stated.

Report requested on response to Sept. 25 tornado activity



By Ron Giofu


A town councillor is requesting a report on the town’s response to the Sept. 25 storms that swept through Amherstburg.

One confirmed tornado and one “probable” tornado came through town that night and Councillor Diane Pouget wants a “complete report” on the storm including information on whether the town’s emergency plan was enacted and why the sirens didn’t go off.

Fire chief Bruce Montone said the fire department receives the same information everyone else does and that the information the department received was that there was a warning for southwestern Ontario.

“That’s a pretty big area,” he said.

The brick welcome sign was also destroyed during the Sept. 25 storm that hit Amherstburg.

The sirens, he said, are not the most appropriate way to notify the public in those situations as they are only in the “primary zone” for a nuclear incident and have no ability to transmit messages. If there was notification of an immediate hazard, the emergency notification system would have been activated but Montone said they received no further information that what national and provincial systems were disseminating.

Pouget believed the town was “very, very lucky” that more damage wasn’t sustained, and that sirens can let people know to go inside.

“It could have been very devastating,” she said of the storm. “We want to make sure the residents are safe.”

Councillor Rick Fryer cited sirens in Monroe, Michigan are loud enough so that residents inside the homes can hear them and know there is an emergency.

Montone said town council had the foresight to purchase the mass notification system and that anyone with a cell phone or smartphone on the LTE system received an emergency alert. He added that current technology doesn’t allow for provincial notifications to be broadcast on other networks.

A report will be brought back to town council at a future meeting.