Letter to the editor 6, Jan 15, 2015
Let it burn
It’s Saturday, December 27th, 2014 at 7:50 a.m. Most are still ‘nestled in their beds’ post-Christmas and preNew Year. Hudson Village is empty. As I’m driving along Main Road, I smell smoke and eventually see flames. The lot which is being rebuilt after the fi re that destroyed the apartments across from the Fire Station is burning again! I quickly process whether to make a phone call and alert someone – it’s a Saturday morning, holiday period, work site, nobody on premises. Is this really an untended fire?
I go to investigate and see the hay, which is covering the ground around the newly poured foundation, is blazing away with flames two feet high. I rush to the Fire Station (ironically across the street). There’s nobody ‘home’. Calling 311 doesn’t work. Nobody answers. The Community Patrol is not available since their hours have been cut. As I sit in the parking lot of our very own highly respected and efficient Fire Department, I call 911. I get patched through to someone probably in Boucherville.
They ask me all kinds of questions. They ask for an address. The only one I can see is the home directly across the street. I tell them I’m in Hudson, Quebec literally sitting in the parking lot of our Fire Station. They patch me through to someone else indicating that there is a fi re at the above mentioned address. I correct him and repeat where I am and can they “just connect through to the Hudson Fire Department!!!” After the third party on the line with me, (probably 8-10 minutes), I hear them patch through to Hudson. Within ONE minute, the guys and gals from Hudson are running, driving, streaming across Main Road into the station.
That’s what I wanted 10 minutes ago. That’s what we used to have when we could reach someone on Patrol any time of the day or night. The beautiful, empty, wooden Davis building is directly beside the lot that was burning. What if that building caught a spark?!! What if it was your home when you were away for the holidays? Would we not all want immediate access to our Fire Department? I cannot tell you the frustration I felt as I sat watching and listening to this knowing full well that members from our Fire Department were ‘close by’…..I just could not access them effectively!
Fortunately, within minutes they managed the situation. But, it could have been very different. We are so fortunate to live in this community. We have many wonderful services and personnel which support the quality of ‘Hudson – A Way of Life.’ I realize that the mayor and council have an immense task ahead of them as they manage the consequences of previous administrations.
A tighter budget is inevitable. But, there is a significant break in the chain after hours when we lose the connection to what makes life in this town special. This is a single event. It ended well. But, I know others have had similar, frustrating situations where they could no longer reach someone because offices were closed, it’s after-hours, or the budget has been cut. I didn’t want this event to disappear in paperwork without anyone else knowing what happened. Let’s talk about it. Let’s find a better way. Let’s fi x this before we get ‘burned’ in a bigger way next time!