North Island Gazette file photo of Port Hardy Fire Chief Brent Borg.

A message from Port Hardy Fire Chief Brent Borg

‘I can’t say enough about our professional volunteers that left it all on the fire ground’

I’m sitting here having my morning coffee and thinking about yesterday’s (April 18) industrial fire and the effect it has on our little already beaten up little town. From strikes to COVID-19 to the loss of our summer and our tourism, this just adds to the heartache. Many small local business will now be displaced and lost so much of their assets, it will be a long and hard rebuild. As a local small business owner myself, I can’t imagine losing my entire business and trying to rebuild—the set back is immense. We will rally with those that lost so much and we will survive and we will rebuild, we always do.

I can’t say enough about our professional volunteers that left it all on the fire ground. I’ve been fighting fires for a long time now and the amount of courage, dedication and effort put into the fire scene yesterday was commendable.

The valiant effort by our crews who worked their butts off was an example of the grit it takes to be a firefighter. The exhaustion I saw on the faces of every one of them was an example of the effort they put in from the Deputy Chief right down to our newest recruits.

It was a 12 hour fire from start to finish and there was no light work. Four engines, two rescues and a duty truck responded and we needed every one of them for their hose and equipment. We had 30 members attend and had help from another engine and five members from Port McNeill. We stretched over 5000 feet of supply and suppression lines that all had to be picked up, washed and loaded to be put back into service last night. We had three minor injuries and all returned back to service before we were done. This is what happens when you work this hard in such a hazardous and dynamic environment.

There was no stopping what was going to happen but our crews, with their training and persistence were able to control and minimize what could have been even worse. In my books it was an astounding success and a save of half the building that I wasn’t sure was going happen.

My condolences to North Island Rockpro and all the tenants that were operating out of their building, I wish you all luck on the rebuilding.

I can’t say thank you enough to our mutual aid partners from Port McNeill Fire Rescue who were on their way to help even as I was just getting on scene myself. Thank you to Bill Milligan for his help and cooperation in helping us suppress this complicated fire.

Thank you to BCEHS for being on standby to treat and assess our members as they were reporting to our rehab and who were on scene as long as we were. It’s comforting to know they have our backs.

Thanks to RCMP and Mainroad Contracting for their public and traffic control. Thanks to BC Hydro for their quick response as wires were coming down and they made the grounds a safer place for us. A big thank you to The Fire Chefs for a fantastic and wholesome meal that was devoured upon return to the hall.

And thank you to the District of Port Hardy for providing us with the equipment we needed and the funds for training and safety equipment we needed so we all went home again to our families.

Lastly I can’t say enough to the energy and effort our Port Hardy firefighters put in to make the outcome of this tragic event end in the best outcome possible with what we were dealt. The men and women of our fire department didn’t give up and didn’t slow down from 9:45 A.M until after 10:00 P.M. last night when we finally got our trucks back into service for the next call. Port Hardy should be proud of these members for the thousands of volunteer hours dedicated to training and maintaining their skills and equipment for these types of events.

Signed by a very proud Fire Chief,

Brent Borg

Fire Chief

Port Hardy Fire Rescue

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