Two fires on stream trail in the past week

Gary Kean
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The fire extinguished in the woods near the Corner Brook Stream Trail late Monday afternoon was the second time in five days the city’s fire department had to respond to the area.

As reported Wednesday, a makeshift wooden camp was found burning in the forest between the Sir Richard Squires Building and Glynmill Inn Pond at around 4 p.m. Monday.

As it turns out, another fire had been reported to the Corner Brook Fire Department shortly after 1 p.m. last Thursday.

Barry Wheeler, who runs on the popular trail system regularly, was jogging through the area when he smelled smoke. Wheeler said he was coming from the Margaret Bowater Park side of the trail and was about to cross the foot bridge where Corner Brook Stream empties into Glynmill Inn Pond when he was compelled to stop and investigate.

He wandered about 25 feet into a trail shooting off from the main path and found a small patch of scorched and still smouldering earth.

“I could hear the crackling of fire in the ground and I didn’t want to try and put it out myself because I was afraid I might be in a bad situation if everything suddenly caught fire all around me,” said Wheeler.

Instead, Wheeler went back to the main trail and called the fire department on his cellphone.

When The Western Star spoke with Deputy Fire Chief Bill Griffin on Tuesday about Monday’s fire, he was unaware of the file as it had been passed straight on to fire Chief Neville Wheaton.

Wednesday, Griffin confirmed that firefighters responded to Wheeler’s call and emptied two portable tanks of water onto the burning ground there. Luckily, Griffin noted, it also happened to rain after the fire department had responded.

Griffin said multiple fires in close proximity to each other gets the department’s attention.

The deputy chief reminded people there are exceptionally dry conditions in the woods at the moment and urged people to exercise extreme caution with fire in wooded areas.

After he continued his run, Wheeler said he noticed some birch trees farther down the trail that seemed to have bark scorched off them. He is concerned someone’s disregard for safety could lead to a serious fire in the area.

“When I saw the story in the paper (Wednesday), I really got a bad feeling that someone is setting these fires deliberately,” said Wheeler.

The fire called in by security personnel at the Sir Richard Squires Building Monday afternoon was in the woods on the opposite side of the foot bridge Wheeler was about to cross when he smelled smoke.

The site of the fire Wheeler reported appeared to be a campfire with several burned logs gathered together on the ground.

In the immediate area was an empty beer box, but also three empty cans of tinned food that appeared to have the labels scorched.

There was also other debris in the vicinity, including an empty cigarette pack, remains of a package of cigarette papers and empty chip bags.

Organizations: Sir Richard Squires Building and Glynmill Inn Pond, Corner Brook Fire Department

Geographic location: Margaret Bowater Park, Corner Brook, Western Star

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