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Thursday, March 12, 2020

Farm Brushfire Results In Large Bill

Brockton | by Robyn Garvey  

Farm couple asking Brockton for a break after someone called the fire department on their brush fire.

A 911 call has left a Brockton farm couple struggling. The misunderstanding has resulted in a huge financial hardship.

Nancy and Charles Osterndorff are petitioning Brockton Council for help following an incident on their farm on January 4th.

The farmers were shocked to receive an invoice from the Walkerton Fire Department for 22 hundred dollars.

The invoice stems from a 911 call by a driver who reported a tree fire on their farm.

In actuality, Charles had a small brush fire going at the bottom of a boggy field covered with snow.

Nancy who was preparing supper at the time was startled when three fire trucks came ripping up her laneway with lights flashing and sirens blaring.

By the time the firefighters arrived however there was no fire to be found as it had already smouldered out on its own.

In Brockton, homeowners must receive a burn permit before burning brush in order to avoid a situation like this when a passerby reports a false fire emergency.

Unfortunately, the Osterndorff’ were unaware of this policy and did not have a burn permit.

The 200-dollar fine for not having a burn permit was waived by the Fire Department, what was not waived however was the 22 hundred dollar fee for the fire call.

Both Nancy and Charles say they are willing to pay something for the fire fighters time, but are requesting that Council reduce that amount to a more reasonable amount.

Council has instructed staff to prepare a report on the matter for the March 24th meeting, in which Council will then decide how it will handle the 22-hundred dollar fire fee invoice.

In the meantime the Osterndorff’s encourage the public to think before they dial when it comes to a fire they spot in a vacant farmers field.

Nancy says had the 911 caller simply drove up the lane to notify her of the fire or just took a closer look there would have been no need for all of the confusion and fuss.


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