The Corner Brook Fire Department was dispatched to the wrong address in responding to a fire that destroyed a home late Saturday afternoon.
The request for a crew came into the department for Westview Avenue, and the team was deployed to the upper townsite area of the city. When the error was realized, it eventually took 10 minutes and 20 seconds to reach the West Avenue home, located on a street off Caribou Road just behind the department.
Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Insp. Terry Corbin said the caller to the 911 service provided the correct address, but the wrong one was relayed to the fire department. The matter is being reviewed internally.
“We need to rectify that situation to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future,” Corbin said.
The officer said there was a lot of damage done to the home and a firefighter subsequently required medical treatment, but that things could have been worse.
“We need to do better,” Corbin said. “That is the message from us.”
Deputy fire chief Bill Griffin said receiving the correct information is significant to the response time.
“We kind of pride ourselves on every response,” he said.
Any calls over five minutes are “tagged,” Griffin said.
Losing valuable firefighting time is critical. The objective is to get there as early as possible.
“To get it while it’s a small fire, before it becomes a big one,” the deputy chief said. “Obviously, that didn’t help us. Five minutes on a burn ... yeah, that could change things.”
Two of the three occupants of the home — all who got outside safely — were taken to hospital for treatment. A firefighter was also hospitalized and treated for smoke inhalation, heat exhaustion and dehydration. He was released Monday and is expected to resume work in a couple of weeks pending further tests.
The fire was started accidentally in an upstairs bedroom, according to the RNC investigation. The source could not be determined due to the extent of the damage.