Children playing with lighter start Melfort fire

MELFORT — Area children playing with a lighter and combustible materials was the cause of a fire in an old SaskTel pedestal at the Exhibition Grounds in Melfort.

On Aug. 23, Melfort Fire and Rescue responded to a report by local residents of an electrical fire in a power box located on the east side of the Exhibition Grounds. The fire was reported to be moving to a nearby tree.

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“There were some adults in the area that observed the kids playing right around that pedestal and next thing you know there was smoke coming from it and the kids took off,” said Jason Everitt, Melfort’s fire chief.

Upon arrival, the department observed the fire in a small metal enclosure located on the grassy lot east of the Exhibition main entrance. The fire had darkened tree branches which had grown up around the enclosure.

A CO2 extinguisher was used to extinguish the flame and it was determined that this enclosure was an old SaskTel pedestal left over from this area’s previous use as a mobile home park. Damage was limited to the cables in the pedestal and SaskTel was notified.

“We were able to connect with the kids and parents after the fact and have a conversation with them about the dangers and risks about those types of activities,” Everitt said.

The children were in the six to 12 age range.

“There was a lot of listening and not much speaking on their part, which was good. Even with respect to the parents, I think it was a good, open, frank conversation and I think the parents took as much away from it as the kids did. Kids are kids and a lot of the time they don’t think of the consequences of their actions.”

Nobody was hurt and charges were not laid, but Everitt said the situation could have been worse.

“Even exposure to that type of smoke can cause harm, if not immediately, then potentially down the road.”

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