Monday, July 25, 2011

Dumpster Ablaze In Wee Hours Of The Morning

I awoke last night with my husband looking out the window. He said the neighbours dumpster was on fire. We could see the smoke from our window, and the neighbours were outside making sure their garage was not ignited by the flames.
I saw the fire truck go by, lights flashing and siren blaring. Then nothing. The siren was turned off. I expected to see the truck roll into the back lane right away, but no. There was no truck. It seemed to take forever for that truck to come down our lane. Did time stand still as I waited to see the truck, or was it putting out another fire nearby before coming down my lane for the fire that concerned me?
I say this because last fall, when my dumpster was on fire, I didn't even hear a siren. I was at home, and had just looked out the back window a few minutes earlier and saw nothing. It seems a fire truck was attending another fire around the corner, and dropped by to put my dumpster out when the neighbours called it in. They were told, "oh ya, we're right around the corner, we'll just back in and put that one out".
So, I wondered how many dumpsters were on fire last night? Or was this the only one?
I got to thinking about how many fires I was actually aware of in my one single block down my back lane since starting this blog in August last year.
There was the fire in my dumpster. Then the fire in the dumpster down the street, in the dumpster that I ordered in, so garbage would not be placed on the ground behind that one house. Then the couch and back of a porch on a house in the lane. And now, the neighbours dumpster.
Those are the fires I am aware of, the ones I noticed, in my one back lane on a single block in the North End of Winnipeg.
A Free Press reported, William Burr, contacted me last week, after I wrote my blog entry Fires Running Rampant ... In Crescentwood?. He was going to come into the North End and take a tour of the area I talked about, the three short blocks that had seven fires within three months, that I was aware of. The reporter said he would have to get the 'ok' from his Editor. And we all know what the editor said ..... "not news worthy". It didn't surprise me one bit that North End fires are not 'news worthy' to the Press.
I also contacted 311 to see if I could get stats on the number of arsons taking place since April 1 from Redwood to Mountain, Main to McGregor (about the same area as stated in the Free Press article on Arsons in Crescentwood). They said to contact the Police, so I did.

Subject: Winnipeg Police Service General Inq... : Request For Information - Number of arson fires in North End
Sent: Friday, July 22, 2011 4:40:25 PM
I would like to know the number of arson fires in the North end since April 1, 2011 for the area of Main St to Mcgregor St, Redwood Ave to Mountain Ave.
Also, I would like to know the type of fires (eg. dumpster on fire, house fire, garage fire, etc).
Rae Butcher
Still waiting for a reply, but I only put the request in on Friday.
You would think fires in the North End would be a story, even for the Free Press. You would think after a rooming house was set on fire, and five people died, fires in the North End would be news worthy. Murders hit the news. The odd stabbing hits the news. But fires? They are only news in Crescentwood. For the North End, when our property is damaged, or threatened, fires are just another day 'In The Hood'.


  1. I suggest you send a copy of this column to the publisher Bob Cox and ask him to explain why the fires in the south end are newsworthy but those 3 miles straight down Mountain from his office are not.

    Our radio show spoke up for the North End and held city council candidates to account, yet the Free Press editor Margo Goodhand complained to Red River College president Stephanie Forsyth and sent along an email to the FP lawyer about whether we had journalism credentials or even the right to be broadcasting on the radio station funded by the College.

    The result is now, no one on Winnipeg radio is telling your stories and neither is the Free Press.

  2. Not sure of the exact date and time frame you're refering to, but I checked the radio activity on the night of the 23rd/24th. Not sure where you live but the WFS was called out several times for false alarms at 817 Main Street around midnight.

    They spoke to someone who lives there they believed responsible but the person denied it and without proof - well you know that story.

    The cops don't usually attend fire calls unless there is a specific reason, i.e. traffic control, large claim arson, suspicious death, chase down suspects, etc. and that only when a car is available.

    The fire department would have a better handle on the statistics than the police department as they also do arson investigations.

    That night was also the night of the fire on Aberdeen, so the Freep probably made a coverage judgement based on a house fire vs garbage bin fire.

    Not to criticize the problem with North End fires, and their media coverage, but the fires in the Ft. Rouge are believed to be the work of one arson suspect as opposed to any number of youths and gangs as in the North End and West End.

    I blame the city council and mayor for their short sighted garbage bin program as the creator of much of the problem, which includes the picking up of bulk items, and cost increases at the garbage dump.

  3. MB Curmudgeon - I am contacting the Police for Arson statistics (April to present) on the direction of 311. I know they do not attend all fires, but may have access to the Arson statistics.
    I was not wanting the Free Press to attend the dumpster fire in my lane last night, but feel there is a serious story that is not being told. There are many fires in the North End, far more than in Crescentwood. Although it is terrible that Crescentwood has had Arson, and possibly by one person, the fact remains that houses, cars, dumpsters and garages are being lit on fire in the North End.
    I found it interesting that William Burr was wanting to do a story, but his editor told him not to bother, because it was not news worthy, even before coming out to talk to me.
    There are many reasons for these fires, and most reasons can be directed at City Hall and the systemic attitudes of "it's just the North End".

  4. It's just the North End.
    I'm sorry that things are the way they are. Statistically we, the middle class of Crescentwood/Fort Rouge, read the news more than we, the lower class of the North End. What makes something newsworthy is its degree of interest to news readers.
    Let us all make our own homes safe and our neighborhood will become safe. Let us only change what can be changed within ourselves, and our whole world will change.

  5. lets see you say lets all make it safe in our neighborhood when you have people running through your yard with weapons,and not only do you ask them the first 2 times nicely but after the third time as well as everyother time they threaten to hurt yo or call yo an *sshole or an idiot for saying stay off my property, when tresspassing is supposed to be clearly illeagle, rent a house in north side, even for a night or two, youoll see some people dont make sh*t easy thats for sure

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