Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fires Running Rampant .... In Crescentwood?

There is an article in todays Winnipeg Free Press talking about a huge surge in fires taking place in Crescentwood. It seems in the last three months there have been nine, yes nine fires on four streets in the area. How many blocks are we talking about on each of the streets? And nine fires in three months?
Their answer to this apparent crisis is, and I quote "encourage people to cut away hedges, remove old piles of wood lying around, repair broken windows and store garbage inside".
So, here's my thoughts on this article, written by William Burr.
In the last three months, just on my block and the two on either side of me (that makes three blocks in total) I have personally seen evidence of the following fires:

Burned car - Monday night, July 18

Burned couch - within the last week July 11-18

Burnt dumpster - around June 12

Burned house, internal damage - June 4

House burned to the ground - May 21

Garage burned to the ground - April 19

Garage burned to the ground - April 19

These are just the fires I noticed, and decided to take pictures of. And these are only three single blocks along one street. I wonder how many arson fires there actually were in my small three block area that the fire department is aware of. And I wonder how many fires there were in the same sized area as discussed in William Burr's article in the Free Press today. And I wonder why arson in the North End is not news worthy like it is in Crescentwood, my old haunt.
The Free Press article also gave mention to deterents to arson. They talked about cutting back hedges, removing old piles of wood, repairing broken windows and storing garbage inside. These are all great ideas in reducing the risk of fires. I have had thoughts along the same lines myself as I walk through my neighbourhood. In fact, I often contact 311 regarding items in yards and lanes that need to be dealt with "before someone lights them on fire". I have sent photos of wood piles that landlords have made in their yards, oddly resembling camp fires, and huge piles of combustible garbage set out in the lanes. I have contacted 311 regarding dumpsters stuffed with dried out stacks of wood just waiting for a match. I have contacted 311 regarding couches and mattresses lying abandonded in yards and lanes.  
There seems to be no rush in clearing these fires waiting to happen from yards and lanes in the North End. Not when it is a Waste Management issue, and not when it is a By-Law infraction. As a member of my Residents Association, and as a resident of the area, I am not able to get these fire hazzards removed in a timely manor from my area of the North End. When reporting broken windows and houses collapsing in on themselves, I do not see results happening. I just watch the residences fall further and further into disrepair.
Even when the City agrees that the garbage piled high in and around dumpsters, wood piles in yards, and unwanted furniture in yards are all fire hazzards, they remain for days and sometimes weeks after being reported in the North End.
I wonder if Crescentwood will have the same problems in removing their fire hazzards, when they take on the task of reducing arson in their area of town.


  1. Hi Rae, your three last postings have been awesome, I have emailed them on to Sel who also is in agreement and he wants to share them with many people.
    We just experienced the two hottest days of summer; guess what the Splash Park at our community centre was closed because M.Hydro was doing maintenance, later we discover the maintenance had been done but the notification that it could reopen was on some beauroRats desk, who was probably up at the beach with his or her kids. Chris Burrows

  2. Wading pool at St Johns park is only Mon-Fri, even in this heat.

  3. Chris - by all means Sel may share these posts.

  4. Hi,
    I'm the author of that article in the Free Press.
    I'd be really interested in speaking with you and writing about these fires in the North End.
    Can we get in touch?
    William Burr

  5. Do note that the residents of Cresentwood will take action and clean up debris themselves to reduce the risk. I suspect the residents of your area won't bother. Big difference.

  6. Anonymous ,it is clear your thoughts are based on a stereotype of the residents in our area. Most of the people in Crescent wood own their own houses, it does make a big difference. You might be surprised how many of us are proud of our lovely old houses and keep them looking very nice.