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REPORTING · 20th January 2010
Walter McFarlane
Haisla Boulevard was closed on Monday, January 18th as firefighters were dispatched to a fire at the entrance to Kitimat. Traffic was reported to be backed up down Cemetery Hill but not as far as the View Point as vehicles were turning around.

“At approximately 3:15, we got a 911 call for a truck fire out at the entrance to Kitimat. We responded with a crew of four and one engine. Upon arriving at the scene, we found a 2001 Kenworth logging truck, the cab fully involved,” said Doug Bassett, Fire Captain.

Smoke could be seen above the Catholic Church. The Kitimat Fire Department received concerned calls about the Wakita Subdivision so they deployed a crew to ensure things were alright there. At Monday’s City Council Meeting, one City Councillor commented to the fire fighters that he had seen the smoke and was concerned until he saw it turn white. Then he knew the Fire Fighters were on the scene.

The driver was able to get out of the truck safely and was able to tell fire fighters that while he had been going up Cemetery Hill, he could smell something funny and noticed a mist of Diesel. He pulled over at the entrance to Kitimat and turned off the truck. Smoke poured into the cabin and he could see flames under the hood so he gathered what he could salvage: log books, lunch pail and got out of the truck.

“He was very lucky. He kept his head on his shoulders, did everything right and even tried to get his fire extinguisher to put out the fire but it happened too fast. The main thing is it happened too fast,” said Fire Captain Bassett.

It took about 5 minutes to get the fire under control and about another 12 to put it out. Things could have been a lot different if it were summer. The logs that the driver was hauling was a load of cedar and fortunately, the fire did not spread to it. The wood was green.

The Kitimat Fire Department are reminding drivers to keep their distance from car fires and not get close to see what is going on. They are also reminding people to make way for emergency vehicles.

In the mean time, the truck and trailer are still sitting there. The plan is to bring a self loader to take the load of wood to the log dump. A truck will haul the trailer away and a tow truck will take the truck away. Fire Captain Bassett stated that the truck is a write off although the trailer is okay. He added that the two should be gone as soon as possible.