ESTEVAN - Members of the Estevan Fire Rescue Service were called to a two-vehicle collision with two semis that occurred on the Highway 39 bypass northwest of Estevan on March 8.
"Once they arrived on scene, they found extremely icy road conditions. It was a low-speed collision with two semi units. While they were mitigating this particular scene, a third semi had entered into the work zone and struck our firetruck due to the extremely icy road conditions. We were very fortunate and thankful that no injuries had occurred to any of the firefighters while on scene," said Estevan Fire Chief Dale Feser.
While it was a very low-speed collision, the firetruck suffered significant damage. Vehicles involved in the accident were staged up properly. There were no injuries as a result of the accident.
Feser reminded the drivers to always follow the rules when they see flashing lights or pass by a work zone on the road.
"We just want to ensure that people, when they're entering into work zones of emergency services, observe and slow down, slow down to 60 (kilometres per hour) on the highways, slow down to 30 in the city limits, and even less so in this particular situation where you have extremely treacherous driving conditions or low visibility," Feser said.
"Slow down, move over to ensure that you're leaving adequate room for emergency services workers and tow truck drivers to get the job done as safely as possible."
The call came in while fire crews were also responding to a carbon monoxide alarm call on Fourth Street.
On March 10 and into March 11, with adverse weather conditions, the fire department responded to five calls for service. The first one came in at about 1:30 p.m., when a vehicle rolled over on Highway 47, three kilometres north of Estevan. Crews arrived on the scene to find that the vehicle had entered the ditch and was threatening to roll, however it did not. No injuries occurred as a result, and the driver was given a ride back to the city.
Shortly after, firefighters were called to another accident five kilometres east of Bienfait, which was reported by a passer-by. Crews attended and found a car that entered the ditch. There were no injuries, the scene was cleared and firefighters returned to the station.
Abruptly, crews were called to the report of a vehicle that struck a strip mall building in northeast Estevan. It was another low-speed accident. Fortunately, occupants of the building were away from where the vehicle hit. The Estevan Police Service and EMS attended the scene as well.
People involved were assessed for injuries, the vehicle was still drivable, and the EFRS turned the scene over to the EPS.
The next call for service came in at about 10:30 p.m. when firefighters responded to another motor vehicle collision. A semi hit the ditch two kilometres north of Benson on Highway 47.
"Crews arrived on scene to find that the vehicle did enter the ditch on the opposite side of the highway after hitting an icy patch. No injuries occurred, no damage to the vehicle occurred. So the scene was turned over to RCMP, who was going to assist the individual in making contact with the towing company to retrieve the vehicle," Feser said.
He reminded the public that if no help on behalf of emergency crews is needed at the accident scene, people don't need to call 911 and rather should call the towing company.
"We've seen a lot of times where we've been dispatched to vehicles that were stranded in the ditch or just hit the ditch, but as soon as you generate a 911 call, you have police, fire and ambulance services, all attending that particular location, and a lot of resources are committed to something that is not required when just a simple call to a tow truck operator will help you get on your way a little bit quicker," Feser noted.
He also reminded that if the driving conditions are not favourable, people should avoid travelling as much as possible.
Later that same night, at about 12:30 a.m. on March 11, a commercial fire alarm went off in the south-central area of the city. Crews responded to find that the fire alarm system was intact, but there was a report of a smoke alarm still going off in the apartment on the sixth floor.
"The crews attended the apartment and found that it was a local smoke alarm inside the suite that was going off. However, no conditions were present to have the alarm go off. After several attempts to try to zero out the alarm, it was deemed that it was a faulty detection device. The device was actually removed and then the occupant was going to get one replaced in the morning," Feser said.
Earlier in the week on March 7, at about 12:30 p.m., fire crews responded to an accident northwest of Hitchcock, in which a semi collided with a train at an uncontrolled railway crossing.
"RCMP and EMS arrived on scene as well to find that a collision had occurred, and the 18-wheeler transport truck has come to rest on the north side of the tracks. Fire Rescue proceeded to assist EMS in packaging the patient. The patient was delivered to the hospital via ground ambulance," Feser said.
At the hospital, the patient was declared deceased.
Firefighters had to ensure that no hazardous materials were leaking out of the semi and the train. Train crews were also assessed, and they didn't suffer any injuries. The scene then was turned over to the RCMP and CP police for further investigation.