Fire pump donation gives Black Tickle, Labrador firefighting capabilities

·3 min read

A recent donation is making the small Labrador community of Black Tickle a little bit safer. The Churchill Falls division of Nalcor Energy in conjunction with Churchill Falls Fire and Safety donated a fire pump to the town, which previously had no fire suppression equipment.

In January a home in the island community off the coast of Labrador was destroyed by fire as residents stood by watching with no way to help. The town about 80 people has no fire department and no nearby communities with one, something people take for granted in most areas.

Ron Bowles, director of Indigenous Relations and Community Affairs with Nalcor Energy-Power Supply, said when they heard about the home that had burned down it inspired them to help.

“We heard they didn’t have any emergency equipment to put fires out and safety is a big thing for us, so we put on our thinking caps and said, ‘How can we help this community out?’ We were proud to be able to get this done and think it’ll have a positive impact for Black Tickle. We hope they never have to use it but it’s there now.”

Bowles said they felt it was important to be good community partners and this was one way to do that.

It isn’t the first time the crown corporation has donated fire suppression equipment to a Labrador community in recent years, with a fire truck going to Port Hope Simpson in 2019 and a jaws of life donated to Mary’s Harbour. Bowles said it’s been surplus equipment the company had and they’re glad to be able to pass it along to the towns to help prevent fires like the one that happened in January.

Joe Keefe, chair of the Local Service District of Black Tickle-Domino, said the portable fire pump is a huge asset to the town and there was a lot of excitement when they found out about it.

He said fires aren’t common in Black Tickle but the times it has happened it results in a total loss, since they had no way to combat it.

“At least now we have a chance to fight a fire if we had one. Even if we can’t save a home, we could save the ones next it and sure there’s less damage,” he told SaltWire. “That happened once before and with something like this we could’ve stopped that.”

Keefe said one of the other reasons a fire is so devastating in the town is that there aren’t many empty houses, and no one has fire insurance on their homes. If a house burns down sometimes people move away, which is already a problem for the isolated town.

“You can’t rent from someone else because there is nothing, people have what they have,” he said. “You won’t have any trouble finding someone to put you up, you don’t have to worry about that, but there’s no empty houses.”

Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram