By RYAN KING
PORT AUX BASQUES – On Friday night Oct. 15, Mouse Island residents were startled by a bang loud enough to rattle windows. Three separate callers dialed 911 to report that a small pickup truck was ablaze on Osmond’s Lane and that smoke and flames were visible.
Fire Chief Jerry Musseau says that the fire took place around 10:00 p.m. and firefighters responded within minutes.
“When we arrived on that scene there the pickup truck was totally engulfed in flames in the cab area, and a little bit of flame under the hood near the windshield area, but mostly from the cab area is where most of the fire was.”
Thankfully no one was injured.
“There was nobody hurt and actually it didn’t appear that truck was being used anytime lately, because it seems like it was there for awhile and it did not seem to have been moved anytime in the past little while. So it was parked there probably for quite some time, how long I don’t know,” says Musseau. “There’s like a little parking spot area there for vehicles, and that was the only vehicle on that little parking area.”
Musseau couldn’t say what exactly caused the loud bang.
“When I arrived on the scene there, talking to some of the neighbours, they did hear a big bang, but what that bang is I don’t know if it was an explosion from the airbags going off, or the steering column let go or whatever.”
Once on scene the fire department quickly got the blaze under control.
“We had that knocked down probably in 15 to 20 minutes. It didn’t take us long, and then just put some extra water on it to make sure nothing else would flare up. From the time we left the station and got our gear packed up and we got back to the station, I’d say no more than an hour, if that,” says Musseau. “We had it under control very quickly once we got on scene there, and nothing else in the area was in danger at that time.”
The Port aux Basques RCMP left an officer stationed at the scene overnight and an arson investigator arrived the next day.
RCMP Media Relations Officer Corporal Jolene Garland confirms that the RCMP is investigating the incident and is now asking for tips from the public.
“At approximately 10:00 p.m., police received a report of a vehicle fire involving truck that was parked on the side of the road on Osmonds Lane in Port aux Basques. Police and fire attended the scene and the blaze was quickly extinguished by firefighters with Channel-Port aux Basques Fire Department. The fire is believed to be suspicious in nature,” confirmed Garland. “A fire scene investigator with Fire and Emergency Services was engaged and attended the scene. The investigation is continuing.”
The RCMP is now actively soliciting the public for help.
“Anyone having information about the fire is asked to please contact the Channel-Port Aux Basques RCMP at 709-695-2149 or contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (TIPS is 8477), by Secure Web Tips at http://www.nlcrimestoppers.com, or by downloading the free and secure mobile app. Search the App Store for “P3 Tips”. Electronic tips submitted to Crime Stoppers are encrypted, entirely confidential and completely anonymous.”