Wetting it down – and lighting it up

Controlled burn conducted by firefighters on the old Swatty’s storage building


Flames demolished an older, unwanted storage building last week, as part of a training exercise undertaken by the local fire department.

The old Swatty’s Restaurant storeroom, bordering Highway 3 on one side, and the Emerald Isle Campground on the other, was nothing but trouble for the owner of the property, Richard Kautz.

“It’s an eyesore,” said Kautz, who owns and operates the Emerald Isle Motel and RV Resort. “And it has cost me, in insurance costs. It sits on an area which also includes 12 lots that I have for sale. If I had to have it dismantled, it would cost me thousands of dollars. Burning is a lot better.”

Kautz had been seeking for a couple of years to have the building burnt down, he said.

And this summer he received word from the municipal planning office that it could go ahead, once the fire ban was lifted.

So last Thursday evening, August 30, once members of the fire crew were finished work for the day, they gathered together at the fire hall on Broadway at around 6:45 p.m. for the pre-burn planning meeting.

“Our first job will be to wet it down around the perimeter, using a lot of water,” said Fire Chief Troy Cuvelier, a few hours before the task was undertaken. “Once that is done, we will light it up.”

The fire department has four new rookies this year, and the fire chief said that burning down the building also created a good opportunity to help train them up.

So how do they control a burn like this, and prevent it from spreading to nearby trees and buildings, on such a hot windy day?

“We put our nozzles on ‘fog,’ to create a water stream that will hold the sparks,” said Cuvelier.

It took about an hour to complete the job, and when it was done, a little bit of local history was erased.

But burning in the Killarney-Turtle Mountain area still requires a permit from the town hall before you flick a match, despite the lifting of the ban on Tuesday, August 28, added the chief.

For more information on acquiring burning permits, go to the town office on Broadway Avenue, or check out the Killarney-Turtle Mountain municipal website.

BURN BABY BURN – The local fire department paid a visit to Richard Kautz’s old Swatty’s storage building last Thursday evening (just off Hwy. 3 on Spruce Street south of Killarney Beach) to help him remove an ‘eyesore’ on his property. The crew used the opportunity to both train up four rookie firefighters, and to clean up the messy area, now that the fire ban has been lifted.


NOZZLES TO THE READY – Firefighters controlled the flames and sparks from spreading on Thursday evening as the old Swatty’s storage building on Spruce Street was removed by the local fire crew during a controlled burn.