Even though there were fewer calls to the Castlegar Fire Department (CFD) in 2020 compared to 2019, the dollar value for fire damages was one of the highest ever.
CFD’s annual report shows that the department responded to 202 fewer calls in 2020. In all, CFD responded to 625 calls.
Fire chief Sam Lattanzio says the decrease in calls came mostly from fewer first responder and rescue type calls.
“It’s explainable, because more people were at home,” Lattanzio told city council when he presented his annual report.
But on the other hand, at $1.08 million, Lattanzio says fire losses were the second highest since he has been keeping records for the department. The highest year for losses was 2013 — the year Saint Rita’s Catholic Church was destroyed in an arson fire. Losses were $428,500 in 2019, $259,500 in 2018 and $126,330 in 2017.
Fire calls in general were up by about 33 per cent to 76. Conversely, rescue calls were down by 33 per cent, first responder calls were down 54 per cent and vehicle accident calls were down by 36 per cent.
Thankfully, it has been several years since CFD was called for an aircraft-related fire at the airport, the last time that happened was 2017.
Public service calls such as community education and school visits were down drastically in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The Emergency Operation Centre at the Castlegar Fire Hall remains activated at Level 1 in response to the Provincial State of Emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Standby — 123
Fire — 76
Rescue — 72
Complaints — 45
Public Service — 44
Vehicle Accidents — 37
Fire alarm — 35
EMBC — 30
First Responder — 21
Hazard Materials — 14
Other calls — 128