2009-02-14 / Top News

Mackinac Island Fire Department Reports 49 Runs in 2008; 2 Major Fires

Of the 49 dispatched runs the Mackinac Island Fire De- partment made during 2008, 29 of them were deemed false alarms. There were two major fires and two ice rescue missions.

Fire Chief Dennis Bradley said the number of false alarms is not extraordinary.

"It could be someone burned their toast or there was a failure in the fire alarm system," he said, "so it's not like nothing happened. Something did, but if we respond to something but don't have to do anything, we consider that a false alarm."

There were at least two citations given to property owners for false alarms for either repeated violations or carelessness that triggered the incident.

There were also two chimney fires and five smoke incidents during 2008.

No buildings on the Island were totally lost, nor were lives lost, although there were costly damages.

The department's two major incidents in 2008 happened in a two-day span.

After helping battle an allday fire in Mackinaw City June 23, which drew firefighters from many communities in the Straits area, Island firefighters were called to action during the early morning of June 24 to the Island House's employee housing on Main Street, where a fire was reported in one of the employee rooms. Arson was the probable cause.

"We had a relief crew go to Mackinaw City, as well, so a lot of them were tired when they got back," said Chief Bradley.

He was thankful that the Island House's Red House employee building, although badly damaged by smoke and fire, wasn't a catastrophe.

"You're talking about an old building there with lots of people in it," said Chief Bradley to Mackinac Island Town Crier Thursday, January 29. "There was thousands of dollars of damage to that building, but, thankfully, no one was hurt."

Both ice rescue missions (March 8 and March 18) were a result of snowmobile accidents that did not involve anyone falling through the ice.

"We were meaning to do ice rescue training just before those incidents happened, so it gave us a chance to show our skills and get some more experience in that area," said Chief Bradley.

The department's ice rescue team will be training with the St. Ignace Fire Department and U.S. Coast Guard Station St. Ignace at the mill slip in St. Ignace Saturday, February 28.

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