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Mystery smoke at library, police station and fire in Gyro Park keep firefighters hopping

Two nearly simultaneous fires diverted firefighter resources Thursday morning, with one leaving police and firefighters with a smoking mystery.

Around 1 a.m. a fire at Nelson’s Gyro Park was reported, with fireworks believed to allegedly be the root cause of the blaze in the wooded areas.

The two-member duty shift responded immediately to the location while Fire Chief Simon Grypma and all off-duty career members were called in. The Nelson Police Department also responded immediately to the scene.

Upon arrival, fire crews tracked the fire to the southeast section of the park. Once there, they found an area roughly 10 metres by 20 metres actively burning on a steep slope filled with trees and brush.

Under the direction of Captain Rick Maida as incident commander, the six members set to work. Within an hour, the fire was controlled and knocked down as the trucks pumped over 6,000 litres of foam and water into the area.

Around 2:30 a.m. as fire crews cleaned up the remnants of the scene at the park, a report of smoke in the Nelson Public Library and Nelson Police Department building required much of that manpower to be diverted away to the new incident.

By 3 a.m. all members had left the park and were relocated to 606 Stanley St.

At the second incident of the night, Nelson police staff had reported light smoke in the building.

Once all members were on scene, Captain Gord Rae assumed incident command and crews got to work, clearing the smoke from the air.

However, the source of the smoke remained uncertain, but it had stopped appearing shortly after crews entered the building. One hour later the firefighters left the building, returning to the firehall to clean their equipment and replenish the trucks before their next call.

“The causes of these incidents have not yet been determined, however, fireworks were noted to be in use near Gyro Park at the time of the incident,” said Chief Grypma. “No injuries have been reported. Fortunately, only minor damage occurred to the trees in the park.”

The conditions of the city’s wooded areas are very dry at this time of year, chief Grypma said.

“Playing with matches or fireworks is very risky business at the best of times, and doing so in a dry forest is downright dangerous.”