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This short note recounts a recent event in our neighbourhood that might surprise you. It also provides a warning.

Last month our neighbour knocked on the door early in the morning to ask if we know anything about a fire on his backyard property, close to the railway tracks. Apparently a large pile of brush had caught fire in the night and was still smouldering. We knew nothing about the fire, the back of their property is hidden from view of our house.

We agreed that they should contact he Parry Sound Fire Department to report the fire, there was seemingly no danger at this point, only ash and some hot coals remained.  Fortunately there had been a light rain the previous night.

The fire department was not surprised by the call and arrived shortly to check it out. They explained that CN had been warned them the day before to expect calls about fires. Apparently CN was preparing to grind the tracks that evening. This meant there would be sparks generated, some of which could start fires if flammable materials were close by.

So that was the end of the mystery fire. It’s fortunate  the brush pile was located far from the house, and there was little chance of the fire spreading. None of us want to be faced with the surprise of a middle of the night house fire.

Consider yourself warned, especially if your house is close to the tracks and you keep a brush pile. I am surprised that neither CN nor the fire department provided us with a warning about the chance of fire that evening. Perhaps we need to develop some sort of a communication system to keep town residents up-to-date on issues such as this.