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Midnight fire on Queensway at Mark Avenue in Thornhill - photos by Rick Ulmer
REPORTING · 27th June 2011
Merv Ritchie
A fire was discovered at just after 11:00 pm Friday evening at the old store building at the intersection of Mark Avenue and Queensway Drive in Thornhill. A family had been living in the apartment portion of the building at the time and according to witnesses at the scene, awoke to the smell of smoke. Thinking it may have been their own stove they went to investigate only to discover the fire was already in behind the wall and they needed to get out.

The building was a total loss but there were no injuries though the residents living in the house at the time lost everything. The Thornhill Volunteer Fire Department attended and a truck from Terrace arrived later.

Witnesses were critical of the Thornhill Fire Department for not knowing the location of the closest fire hydrant. “With GPS these days you would think they would be able to immediately know where the hydrant was, at least within a few feet.” They also spoke about how lucky the nearby residents were that it was not a hot summer day. It was raining and had been most of the day.
Midnight fire on Queensway at Mark Avenue in Thornhill - photos by Rick Ulmer
Midnight fire on Queensway at Mark Avenue in Thornhill - photos by Rick Ulmer
Thornhill firefighters - photos by Rick Ulmer
Thornhill firefighters - photos by Rick Ulmer
For the judging peeps...
Comment by MaggieJo on 1st August 2011
For the judging people here....Since you lack trust in our volunteers & professionals, perhaps when YOUR house is burning down...kindly refrain from calling "911" for assistance while taxing our volunteers and professionals in the interim - since you don't trust them. Perhaps try to put out your home fire yourself with your handy-dandy garden hose.

See what I mean? That would be a mean thing to suggest. Harsh realization, heh?

Let's trust the professionals to help us out. The professionals/volunteers are trained to deal with these types of situations. For many of us to judge them is beyond me, as they put their lives in danger to assist us at a telephone's beckoning call, while they tend to their belt-buckled beepers at a moment's notice. They have to leave their family BBQ's and special events to unexpectedly rush out yet again to assist the Community in times of need - all at a moment's notice. They work hard to "be there" to assist the Community and keep people safe.

That being said...we MUST hold our Professionals accountable as well. Rather than complaining with no proposed solution in "said complaint"....perhaps present a solution of sorts along with your complaint. IE...The firefighters struggled to locate a hydrant. I can aide them in providing them with hydrant locations in the event o f another fire in my neighborhood.

Complaining is addicting. Complaining while assisting to provide a resolution is productive.
back off
Comment by Dave on 1st July 2011
After being trained in firefighting through my career years and several years a member of a volunteer fire department I take offense at those that find fault with volunteers. They do their best, they give up many many hours of their and their families lives to serve a community and many times put their own lives in danger for others.
Yes maybe some lessons could be learned BUT it is those who find fault and are not willing to get involved in their communities that drive or keep others away from becoming involved.
Thank you to all that contribute to their communities!!!!
A passerby
Comment by Rick on 30th June 2011
It was a clear case of the firefighters running around looking for fire hydrants and when one of the local people took them to where it was they came and connected a 4 inch hose to it!
I realize they are all volunteers and do indeed make many sacrifices for the residents of the community however someone in the department should provide them with a map or someway of locating hydrants quickly. Remember these people are protecting your homes and the quicker they are able to start fighting your fire and the better trained they
are the more chance there is that your home may be saved.
Comment by Stacey Tyers on 28th June 2011
Insurance especially content insurance is not afforadable for many people, not to mention their belongings are not valuable enough for insurance companies to want to insure them.

But when it's all you have... it's very valuable to you.
Great job
Comment by Support local FD on 28th June 2011
I applaud the witnesses critical of the fire department (sarcastic). I’m no expert but I”m sure factors like not blocking the road with hose for other trucks and emergency vehicles that may be needed plays a part in hydrant selection. Trying to make the right decision for the safety of everyone while having something on fire I’m sure is something that everyone can do easily (sarcastic again) Especially at midnight or later. We have witness comments in the story, yet no comments from the fire department itself? Brilliant reporting (very sarcastic)
Thank you to fire fighters
Comment by THVFD Supporter on 27th June 2011
A huge thank you to the fire fighters who were up all night and well into the morning for keeping the other structures and families safe surrounding this building. I don't think people realize these men and women are all volunteers who leave their wives, husbands and children in the middle of the night to help others.

Also, it's probably a bit difficult to find a hydrant on a dark rainy's not like they're illuminated. But if you're that critical, I'm sure they could always use more volunteers!

Comment by MaggieJo on 27th June 2011
I hope this isn't yet another case of dwellers not hosting home insurance. My sympathies to the residents who lost everything in the fire. 'Must be quite traumatizing for you. If you need things...consider publishing online for Community support.

Which reminds me. I gotta check my smoke alarms.