Disaster plan proved effective at fire

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  • Jun. 28, 2011 8:00 a.m.

TREENA MIELKE/Rimbey Review

A disaster plan set up by the Town of Rimbey proved to be quite effective when put to the test during the recent evacuation of 50 residents when it was feared fire would spread.

Ryan Maier, director of disaster services, said RCMP, emergency crews, firemen, the public works department, recreation and Family and Community Services met June 21 for a debriefing following the fire June 15 that destroyed Rapid Gaz, a collection depot for propane tanks.

Bruce Mackenzie from Alberta Emergency Management Agency led the meeting.

“It was a good test of the disaster plan,” said Maier. “Overall it was a success and everything went well.”

He said the evacuation was not mandatory, but the decision was made to ask people to evacuate due to the highly explosive materials on site.

“Generally everyone was co-operative and the emergency crews had things under control quite quickly.”

Residents were taken to the Rimbey Community Centre and breakfast and coffee would have been brought in, but a call was made that residents could return to their homes within an hour, Maier said.

Fire Chief John Weisgerber said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

He noted that the wall beside the school in the building that housed Rapid Gaz had a reinforced wall with an extra layer of steel and two extra layers of drywall as a preventative measure.

“These guys were trying to be good corporate citizens,” he said.

The fire caused more than $1 million in damage. It was called into the Rimbey Fire Department by a motorist driving by Rapid Gaz who saw flames shooting out of the building at around 2 a.m.