October 14, 2017 7:01 pm

Montreal Fire Department has tip for Fire Prevention Week — declutter

ABOVE: Firefighters held a number of open houses at various fire stations across the island. For one firefighter who's spent decades on the job, today's goal was simple and to the point. Global's Phil Carpenter reports.


Gaston Colpron cares for people and in his many years as a Montreal firefighter, he’s seen things so bad that still shake him up to this day.

“I don’t like to talk about those, to be honest,” he says, “because it reminds me of things that shouldn’t have happened.”

All things that could’ve been avoided.

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That’s why on Saturday, he made sure people understood how they too, can prevent residential fires. He was at Station 46 in the borough of NDG where he works. This was one of 11 Montreal area stations that had an open house as part of Fire Prevention Week. The goal — to remind people of their responsibilities in preventing fires.

“What to do in the case of a fire, how to prevent fires,” Colpron explains.

In 2016, there were 315 major fires across Montreal, and according to the fire department’s annual report, 11 people died, up from seven the year before.

Captain Steven Pezzi explains that “most of the residential fires are either cooking-related or sad to say, it’s a lot of smoking-related fires.”

One area of concern remains — the number of buildings with no working smoke detectors — it’s still a point that needs reinforcing.

But there is one thing that firefighters say puts everyone’s lives at risk when they show up to fight a fire.

“A lot of people accumulate stuff that they don’t need,” Colpron explains, “and if there’s a fire downstairs, we have to go downstairs and then we’re stuck in the middle of a pile.”

Though people were having fun at the open house, there were some who already got the message.

Visitors to the open house like Alison Glaser says her home is fire ready. “We obviously have our smoke detectors, we have a carbon monoxide detector in our house, and we make sure our fire escape in the back is always clear.”

Which no doubt helps to put Colpron’s mind at ease, days before he turns over a new leaf.

“I’m retiring Monday morning, after 41 years,” he grins.

He didn’t share his retirement plans but no doubt he’ll find some way to continue following his passion — helping people live a safe and happy life.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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