Amherstburg Fire Department

Magnitude 4.1 earthquake rumbles through town



By Ron Giofu


Where were you when the earthquake hit?

At approximately 8:01 p.m. Thursday night, an earthquake shook southwestern Ontario and southeastern Michigan with the epicentre of the quake being reported near Alma St. and Concession 5.

It was originally confirmed as a Magnitude 3.6 earthquake by the U.S. Geological Service (USGS) but has since been upgraded to a Magnitude 4.1 earthquake by Natural Resources Canada. It was felt throughout Windsor-Essex County and parts of Michigan.

The depth of the earthquake was reported at

The RTT was covering an event at General Amherst High School Thursday night when the quake hit. People in attendance questioned what the rumbling was as the floor shook but the event – a meeting on the various pathways students can take during and after high school – carried on without major interruption.

The Amherstburg Fire Department activated the “Amherstburg Alert” mass notification system later in the evening and informed residents of the situation. The update also confirmed that there was no danger from the Fermi II nuclear power plant in Monroe, Michigan.

“Amherstburg officials and Fermi Nuclear Plant have been in contact. It is confirmed that Fermi has been shut down since the last weekend and is at no risk of damage from the earthquake,” stated Amherstburg fire chief/community emergency management co-ordinator Bruce Montone in a press release.

No injuries or damage have been reported but if there are people who sustained damage, they are asked to report it to emergency officials.

Terry Hall, who lives on the top floor of an eight-storey apartment building on Dalhousie St., initially thought it was a quarry blast.

“There was a loud rumble in the building,” said Hall. “The dishes started shaking. My kitchen floor started going up and down. I was wondering what had happened.”

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said he was “stunned” when he learned that it was an earthquake but was pleased with the town’s response. He said he was at home when the earthquake occurred.

“I was just settling down to relax a little bit for the night and watch TV in the basement,” said DiCarlo, “and boom, it came rolling in.”

The epicentre of an April 19 earthquake was in Amherstburg. It was originally pegged as a Magnitude 3.6 earthquake but was upgrade to a Magnitude 4.1 quake. (Image from USGS website)

DiCarlo said his first impression was that of some type of explosion, such as a gas line or fuel tank. He was also reminded of what quarry blasts felt like at his home, though noted the quarry blasts were “moderate and properly done.

“It was the same sensation with a boom and some shaking,” said DiCarlo.

DiCarlo said he immediately contacted Montone and police chief Tim Berthiaume and while there was some initial thought it was a sonic boom, it was quickly determined it was an earthquake. He said they had to get confirmation from Canadian officials but stated there were “boots on the ground” ensuring the town’s infrastructure was fine and that there was no damage.

Another inspection of area infrastructure was scheduled for Friday.

There was no immediate danger to the public, DiCarlo added, and if there was any danger to the public, an alert would have went out quicker. They also wanted to confirm as much information as possible before relaying it to the public.

“It made no sense to say ‘we felt it too, we’ll get back to you’,” said the mayor.

DiCarlo added he was happy with the initial real-world use of the Amherstburg Alert system and they are taking feedback from the public on how it worked. Those who haven’t signed up for the alerts can do so at Thousands of land lines were already registered into the system but those who would like to register cell phones, e-mail addresses and fax numbers can still do so.

“Operations-wise, it went phenomenal,” said DiCarlo.

Town leadership quickly assembled at town hall and firefighters and police officers were out in the community to check for damage or any other issues.

“Communication was excellent,” said DiCarlo.

Evening accident sends two people to hospital



A two-vehicle accident in McGregor late Tuesday afternoon has resulted in two people being sent to hospital with serious injuries.

The Amherstburg Police Service states that at approximately 5:28 p.m. Tuesday, officers were dispatched to the intersection of Middle Side Road (County Road 10) and Concession 8 North for a two-vehicle motor vehicle accident with injuries.

The Amherstburg Fire Department and Essex-Windsor EMS also attended the scene with the fire department extricating a 66-year-old man from his 2008 red Ford Ranger. Police say he was transported to hospital, as was the driver of the other vehicle, a 2002 beige Dodge Dakota. Injuries are described by Amherstburg police as serious, but non-life threatening.

According to the Amherstburg Police Service, investigation showed that the driver of the Dakota was southbound on Concession 8 North and allegedly failed to stop at the stop sign at Middle Side Road and struck the Ranger.

The investigation is continuing and Amherstburg police say that charges are pending.

Anyone with information or any witnesses to the accident are asked to contact the Amherstburg Police Service at 519-736-3622 or Windsor-Essex Crime Stoppers at 519-258-8477 (TIPS).

Town welcomes Paul Acton as new deputy fire chief



By Ron Giofu


The Town of Amherstburg has reached back into Windsor to find its next deputy fire chief.

Paul Acton was formally introduced Monday night as the town’s new deputy chief and he will replace Lee Tome, who re-enters retirement at the end of the month. Acton brings with him over 30 years of experience in emergency services, as he started with the Windsor Police Service in 1982 before switching to the Windsor Fire Department in 1990.

In making the introduction, CAO John Miceli said Acton has experience as a training officer, assistant chief, deputy chief and in officer development.

“He has a thorough knowledge of legislation,” Miceli pointed out, adding Acton believes in safety of the firefighters and community, customer service and professionalism.

Paul Acton was welcomed Monday night as the town’s new deputy fire chief.

Acton said he still has a passion for serving and wants Amherstburg to continue to have a safe and efficient fire department. He said he has an “excellent” relationship with Chief Bruce Montone, dating back to when they worked together with the Windsor Fire Department.

“I’ve had the good fortune to work with very knowledgeable people,” he said.

Amherstburg has a lot of young members on its fire department, Acton stated, and he hopes to pass along his knowledge to those firefighters. He said there is a lot of new science and technology involved with firefighting and wants to share what he knows in order to maintain safety and efficiency.

The “issue of fire behaviour has changed drastically” over the last number of years, he said.

Despite serving in Windsor, Acton called himself a “county guy.”
“I love the area,” he said.

Acton started his new duties Monday and said he was looking forward to meeting the firefighters. He added that he also wants to help improve service delivery.

County approves new medical tiered response program



By Ron Giofu


Essex County council has amended the Essex Windsor EMS and Fire Services Medical Tiered Response Agreement (MTRA) and it appears that it will benefit local fire departments.

One of these is the Amherstburg fire department, with town council taking credit for pressing the issue with the county.

According to a report from Essex-Windsor EMS Chief Bruce Krauter that went before county council earlier this month, Essex-Windsor EMS as well as the county and Windsor fire services “have a long-standing agreement in which the fire services are notified, or otherwise known as tiered, for medical responses. The agreements are provided to the Central Ambulance Communication Centre as a directive for communicators to follow when requesting assistance from fire services.”

Krauter noted in his report that the criteria of medical tiered response changed over a 24-year period among the various individual fire services until 2015.

“The variety of the criteria resulted in confusion of the communicators and responding paramedics alike, therefore in 2015 the Medical Tiered Response Agreement (MTRA) was unified and formalized across the city and county fire services,” Krauter stated in his report. “The unification created a consistent approach across all municipalities and fire services.”

Krauter also noted that the 2015 MTRA introduced “the unified medical direction, continued quality assurance and call auditing. This unification and consistent approach has improved patient care and is one of the leading factors in the increased sudden cardiac arrest survival rates, year over year.”

Krauter added: “Since the inception of the 2015 MTRA the EWEMS call volume has increased, on average, 6-8 per cent. As discussed in the 2018 budget deliberations, the increase in call volume has put pressure on not only EWEMS but also the local fire services, whom are participants in the MTRA.”

While local fire departments can still respond to Code 4 calls when EMS staff is depleted, they would not be dispatched to medical facilities where doctors and nurses are already on site.

As a general rule, fire departments should not be dispatched to doctor’s offices, dentists offices, Family Health Teams, nurse practitioner-led clinics, hospitals, hospices or community health centres, Krauter’s reported added.

“This additional clause is expected to reduce the responses to those locations where a higher medical authority is on scene and able to provide a higher medical intervention before EMS arrival,” Krauter stated. “The amended Medical Tiered Response Agreement is expected to maintain the excellent services our fire services provide across the Essex-Windsor region while maintaining their local services in an effective, efficient and sustainable manner. The Essex Windsor EMS and Fire Services Medical Tiered Response Agreements are currently in the approval process in their respective municipalities. Once approved, they become part of the EWEMS deployment plan and are delivered to the Windsor Central Ambulance Communication Centre for implementation. It is the anticipated the MTRA can be delivered with in the next three to four weeks.”

The town has spent $70,000 over the last couple of years on medical calls with the new agreement calling for a reduction of almost half of that.

Councillor Rick Fryer said every municipality should be paying its fair share and the new agreement will allow for a more equitable distribution of costs.

“I know this was not well received at first and (the county) was not too impressed with our council but we did the job for our residents,” said Fryer.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said the new agreement won’t address off-load delays at area hospitals, but will address many of the town’s concerns.

“It’s a good thing we brought it up and frankly, we got what we asked for,” he said.

Amherstburg fire chief Bruce Montone anticipated a favourable financial impact for the town and said it will lessen the impact on local ratepayers.

“Amherstburg led the way on this issue,” said Montone.

“Amherstburg led the way on this issue,” said Montone.

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.”