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  1. #1
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    Default Understating a grave situation.

    Story of recent fire in the town I live in.
    ______________________________ ______________________________ _________

    2/29/04 Sault Fire Department saves Kewadin Casino

    By SCOTT BRAND/The Evening News
    SAULT STE. MARIE -- A Saturday morning fire hospitalized two members of the Sault Ste. Marie Fire Department and shut down the Upper Peninsula's largest casino, before it was extinguished.

    Both firefighters were reportedly treated at War Memorial Hospital for non-lifethreatening injuries associated with smoke inhalation. There were no other injuries arising from the Kewadin Casino and Convention Center blaze.

    In an official press release the Sault Fire Department revealed the fire was contained to the second floor and immediately extinguished.

    Details were sketchy Saturday evening regarding the cause of the fire, but an initial investigation has apparently led authorities to believe an electrical short was the most likely cause. Federal agents were rumored to be coming onto the reservation to investigate the fire, due at least in part to the recent political turmoil within the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. From all initial indications, however, there was no sign of arson at the scene.

    The Sault Fire Department was called out shortly after 8 a.m. Saturday, according to a news release from the fire hall. They were joined at the scene by personnel out of the Soo Township Fire Department. The location of the fire's origin, near the south entrance, allowed the blaze to build unseen until security personnel observed the smoke.

    All of the casino patrons, hotel guests and employees were evacuated from the scene as a precaution. The hotel guests were allowed to return early Saturday afternoon, while players had to wait until Saturday evening to return to the Blackjack tables, slot machines and other games of chance in the unaffected areas of the casino.

    Vice President of Hotel Operations Carol Eavou said the 40,000 square-foot Paradise Room has been closed indefinitely.

    "We have all of our companies in," said Eavou of the ongoing inspections less than 12 hours after the fire broke out. "There is no estimate as of yet."

    The majority of the fire damage was contained to the second floor office area, according to a Kewadin Casinos News Release. The office space is home to the tribe's accounting and human resources departments.

    The Paradise Room, sitting directly below the office space, sustained substantial water damage at least in its southernmost portion. Eavou said preliminary indications are that 85 percent of the slot machines and gaming tables inside the Paradise Room were away from the incoming downpour associated with fire suppression. Of the 15 percent or so that may have gotten wet on Saturday, it had not been determined how many, if any, had been rendered inoperable.

    Eavou said the nearby Baweting Art Gallery, holding Native American crafts and artworks, also sustained water damage. She went on to add that all of the museum pieces escaped undamaged.
    ______________________________ ______________________________ _________

    Now some information about Sault Ste Marie, FD. This is Career staff Department with 22 members. 1 Chief, 3 Catains, 3 Lts, and 15 other FFs with 7 on a 24-shift. The Department runs EMS with 4 ALS Ambulance along with a county-wide Echo(Paramedic Intercept) Unit. There are several times when 2 Ambulances and the Echo unit will be out on runs(the Ambulances also can do transfers that can last over 12 hours on down the the UM Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI). Now for Fire side they have 1 Pierce Quint(Lance with 85' I believe), 1 Pierce Quatrum, and 1 old Ford/Bean. This is for a City with year round pop. of around 14000 with a tourist base population of triple that on along with a Community College that thinks it is a Univeristy. I Oh, yeah, they also provide EMS services for three of the surround townships to boot. Just glad they have their own FD.

    What scares the ***** out of me is that I work in a Hotel up here and after going by the Casino to see what was damage. Oh, boy if they paper had published the pictures to this one. The damage was more extensive than what the article would lead one to believe.
    Yet that is another story and will try to scan them and post them later.

    Now am I just paranoid or does this department seemed to be understaffed or is it overworked? Any way you look at it it scares me to death to think that some day one of the several Hotels can catch fire several of them are 10-15 years old. Most I have been in don't have Fire Wall or Door to stop a fire. What a liability this city is facing that hopefully will never happen.


    My real question should I really


  2. #2
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    Now am I just paranoid or does this department seemed to be understaffed or is it overworked?
    Welcome to the new world...

    How many runs annually?

  3. #3
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Most fire departments are understaffed. The politicians are willing to play "russian roulette" with public safety (the fire side, PD is rarely cut), and when the firefighters try to inform the public of the situation... the politicos say that the FD is using scare tactics and then launch a scare tactic of their own... such as threatening tax increases.

    It's not the new world...it's also reality....
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  4. #4
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    I've been to the Soo a couple times and I have stopped in their station to check it out. The station still has the hay loft and rings to hold the horses. I don't know their run volume, but knowing the structures in the area, and the fact that they run ALS transport, they are definitely understaffed. I'm pretty sure they have a call back policy for fires or when they're all gone on transports. I thought casinos usually contributed money back to the community which could be used to bolster the ranks there. How about mutual aid from Canada, eh?

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