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Fire at Manvers One Stop Restaurant and Convenience prevented

JAMES J. GREEN, The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: Spontaneity, like rain, can either be a bad thing or a blessing. This past Monday morning, it was both.

Sometime before 10 a.m., a pickup truck caught fire during the rainstorm we had that day in Manvers. The fire took place at 1265 Hwy 35, near the 7A intersection.

Driving by, the first thing seen was simple steam from the rain hitting a hot truck hood. After it was noticed, it was not long before flames were seen peaking out of the hood over the driver-side headlight.

The real oddity was that no one was home, the wipers were running, and neither the vehicle nor the building had been used for some time, according to some residents of the area. Even still, the major concern was not the truck itself but the old building and classic truck nearby.

As this danger seemed to come out of the blue, so did help to this place, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Neighbours with garden hoses too short, tow trucks, reporters and other bystanders converged on the scene at the same moment. While one bystander looked for an extension to the garden hose until the fire department arrived, another passerby with a flatbed called 911, stating: "If you don't get here soon, that entire building is going up."

Not far behind were passing several tow trucks and paramedics. Neither of which had been called but rather simply happened by the scene. With the help of another tow truck driver, Dan from Nadeau's Collision Service, hitched up the classic truck to his flatbed and towed it to safety just as one of the tires popped on the burning truck and caught on fire. The paramedics watched carefully to ensure no one hurt themselves in the process, expecting more small explosions to happen.

Together the flatbed tow truck drivers prevented any damage to the classic pickup.

The tow drivers would have liked to move the burning truck farther from the nearby building, but the flames had engulfed the front end of the truck too quickly, popping the tires and dripping flaming fluids into the rain-filled puddles making any such move too dangerous if not impossible.

Thankfully as soon as the classic truck had been towed to safety, the Kawartha Lakes Fire Department arrived seventeen minutes after the initial call. The Fire Department had the truck fire out within 10 minutes, ultimately preventing the spread of the fire to the wooden building. First, employing high-pressure water to tame the flames. The Department finished the job with fire foam, once more fire trucks had arrived.

The rain; which may have played a part in the initial fire, a cause still to be determined; is partially credited, along with the over-spray from the garden hose, once extensions had been found, with saving the wooden building until the Fire Department arrived.

While the opportunity for great help does not happen often, it's nice to see all our social distancing over the past three years has not stopped some of us from helping our neighbour when in need. It's nice to see the communal actions of the people and passersby on the scene cooperating with complete strangers able to overcome the occurrence of the fire quickly.

Freak accidents like this one may not always be able to be seen ahead, but there are some general precautions which can be taken to help prevent vehicle fires while being stored. Such precautions include taking a stored or "for sale" vehicle for a drive once a month to air it out and keep it in good order and prevent the setting of fluids, or storing vehicles with pest traps nearby can help prevent pests from chewing at wires, never leave tools in the hood if the engine is being worked upon. Finally, keeping your vehicles regularly maintained and not skimping out on their electrical system can save you money and avoid unforeseen issues in the long run.

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