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‘You can’t feel the heat on a Zoom call’: Golden fire chief defends training session

Pecora does admit that one slash pile was mistakenly burnt when venting was poor
On Tuesday, April 18, 22 members of the Golden Fire Department underwent a full-day training session which included a full burn of a vacant building. (Elizabeth Lyle photo)

The Golden Fire Department conducted a full-day training session last week which included putting out multiple fires as well as a full burn of an empty house.

Residents of the town took to social media to share their concerns about the “unnecessary fire on a cloudy rainy day.”

Fire chief Mike Pecora acknowledged that there was one slash pile that was burned unnecessarily and apologized for the error.

However, Pecora largely defended the training session, calling it “well-regulated” and “really important.”

Among the concerns of the community was that the house being used for training was allegedly toxic.

Pecora categorically denied the allegations and explained that the house had a full hazard assessment completed on it and was prepared for the burn over the course of six weeks.

The house was free from lead and asbestos and was cleared of all appliances.

“We aren’t a bunch of cowboys who are allowed to just go blow shit up and light things on fire,” Pecora said.

“We have a pretty strict set of rules from the National Fire Protection (Association).”

In addition to preparing the house for the burn, information from the session was sent to the provincial Office of the Fire Commissioner before and after the session.

“The province was happy with how we handled it,” Pecora said.

Pecora also wanted to clarify that large fires were not being burned all day and that other rescue training went on during the training session which ran for over 12 hours.

The day’s training included evacuation training for people with mobility issues as well as other smaller fire prevention exercises.

With respect to concerns from residents about the venting issues on the day of the training, Pecora said that “the weather was actually perfectly fine until about 6:40 p.m.”

Pecora also pointed to the broader public interest as a justification for the training session.

“If the community is upset that they have a very well-trained fire department… I don’t know what to say,” he said.

READ MORE: Golden Fire Rescue to conduct training on 7th Street North


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