News

Firefighters respond to 'unknown odour' at Walmart

By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer

Norfolk Fire & Rescue and Union Gas responded to Walmart in Simcoe Friday following a report of “an unknown odour” at the front of the store. While at the shopping centre, county firefighters spoke to parents about fire safety while handing out Junior Fire Chief hats to youngsters. Among those shopping in Simcoe at the time of the alarm were Melissa Fearman and Charlie Shurr, both of Hagersville. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER

Norfolk Fire & Rescue and Union Gas responded to Walmart in Simcoe Friday following a report of “an unknown odour” at the front of the store. While at the shopping centre, county firefighters spoke to parents about fire safety while handing out Junior Fire Chief hats to youngsters. Among those shopping in Simcoe at the time of the alarm were Melissa Fearman and Charlie Shurr, both of Hagersville. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER

SIMCOE  - 

Norfolk Fire & Rescue doesn’t believe in wasting calls.

If a call for service turns out to be a false alarm, that creates an opportunity to spread the message of fire safety.

Norfolk firefighters were called to Walmart in Simcoe Friday afternoon in response to a report of an “unknown odour.”

Their instruments didn’t pinpoint anything so firefighters used the occasion to hand out Junior Fire Chief hats to the kids and speak to parents about fire safety.

Fire safety is especially important at this time of year. Scott Pipe, assistant fire chief for Norfolk Fire & Rescue, says there is an uptick in genuine fire calls at the end of December.

“I can’t remember a Christmas-New Year’s period when we haven’t had a fire,” Pipe said. “That’s a terrible thing to have to admit.”

The festive season is traditionally a time to kick back, take stock of the year just passed, and have a few drinks with family and friends.

Pipe says alcohol seems to be the common thread winding its way through fire calls during the Yuletide season. Pipe says people over-imbibe and the next thing they know there’s a fire in the kitchen or a candle has tipped over or a burning cigarette has fallen behind a couch.

“We take every opportunity we can to have this conversation,” Pipe said. “We try not to have our crews out on Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s.”

As for the call at Walmart, the report Norfolk Fire & Rescue received suggested the odour was most noticeable at the front of the store near the checkouts.

Once firefighters concluded their investigation, they turned the scene over to technicians from Union Gas.

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com