By Brandon Mayer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
At least two major fires called for responses from several different fire departments east of Kemptville last week.
On November 6, a large shed and trailer blaze on the western edge of South Mountain brought a response from the South Mountain and Winchester fire departments, among others. Police were also on the scene controlling traffic as dozens of curious onlookers parked in the parking lot of Nationview Public School, observing the firefighters at work. No injuries were reported, and a house on the same lot appears to have been spared any major damage. The frame of the shed remains, although irreparably burned, but the trailer was completely leveled by the fire.
Another fire on November 10 drew as many as 24 volunteer firefighters to a farm outside of Chesterville. Firefighters responded to a corn dryer fire on Nation Valley Road, and worked for most of the day to stop the fire from spreading. Like the South Mountain fire, no injuries were reported and the fire was contained.
Social media posts were overwhelmingly positive regarding the Chesterville fire, as concerned neighbours had stopped to check in, showing good community spirit. A local business – Louis Restaurant in Chesterville – also received commendation from the Township of North Dundas and from countless locals for providing free pizza for the firefighters as they worked to get the situation under control.
Large fires don’t occur often in small communities, but when they do, they can leave a heavy mark. The building that housed the once famous King’s Pizza Restaurant in South Mountain was completely destroyed by a fire on August 1 which drew a response from several fire departments, including trucks from North Grenville. Over three months later, the lot remains fenced off and covered in rubble, causing an unpleasant image in the centre of the small village of South Mountain.
The Times reached out to Calvin Pol, Director of Planning, Building, and Enforcement for the Township of North Dundas, to ask about by-laws that govern the cleanup of lots affected by fire damage. Director Pol referred the Times to By-law No. 20-2012, which gives a 30-day deadline for the cleanup of burned, partially burned, or demolished material after a fire. However, there is a catch. “Factors such as an Ontario Fire Marshal investigation could delay cleanup,” Calvin told the Times. It is unclear whether such an investigation is ongoing at the old King’s Pizza location.