CANMORE – It was a quiet Christmas for local firefighters, but 2020 had one last call to remember for Canmore Fire-Rescue over the weekend.
On Sunday morning (Dec. 27) at around 2:50 a.m., the local fire department was called out to the Trans-Canada Highway near Canmore for a semi-truck and trailer on fire.
According to Chief Walter Gahler, when firefighters arrived, they found a trailer full of toilet paper ablaze.
"We responded to a report of a tractor trailer fire on the Trans-Canada eastbound, roughly in line with where Alpine Helicopters is located," Gahler said.
"Upon arrival, the back end of the tractor trailer was involved in fire and smoke. Our crews went in to knock it down right away."
Two fire trucks from Canmore and eight firefighters responded. A water supply truck from Exshaw Fire-Rescue also attended. Gahler said the investigation into the cause continues.
"It seems to be a mechanical issue in the under carriage at the rear of the trailer," he said.
"We have seen this before – it is not unusual, but the investigator is finishing the investigation right now."
Gahler said while firefighters tried to save the contents, given their value as an essential supply during the pandemic, it was difficult given the situation.
"We tried to save what we could, but between the fire and the water it was almost a complete loss," he said, adding the metaphor the situation presented at the tail end of 2020 was not lost on anyone. "I think even though it was heavy work, everyone was having a bit of a chuckle about what we were trying to save.
"Every toilet paper roll is sacred these days and we did our best to save what we could."
The driver of the tractor trailer was OK as well, he added.