Aylesford fish not first creatures to clog fire equipment

Kirk Starratt kstarratt@kingscountynews.ca
Published on March 9, 2016

Aylesford firefighters were surprised to find their dry hydrant clogged with fish when attempting to pump water to fight a grass fire.

©Kirk Starratt

KINGS COUNTY - It turns out that having creatures drawn into firefighting equipment while pumping water from ponds and lakes is something that happens occasionally.

Aylesford firefighters were surprised March 8 when their dry hydrant became clogged. They had set up a pumper at a nearby pond to fill their tankers to battle a grass fire when the crew noticed they were having difficulty drawing water.

They removed the suction line from the dry hydrant to check the gaskets and look for foreign material and were shocked to find it clogged with what Chief Shawn Carey said appeared to be some sort of catfish. Carey said nothing like this has happened to one of his fire crews before.

Kentville Fire Department Lt. Blake Orman said he recalls a similar incident involving salamanders that happened at Silver Lake.

Orman said it was probably four or five years ago when Kentville firefighters were pumping water from the lake and had salamanders sucked into the dry hydrant.

“Usually, there are strainers on the end in the water to prevent this from happening but the salamanders were small enough to fit through,” he said.

Orman said the incident with the fish in Aylesford is only the second time he’s heard of something like this happening.

In the book The History of the Canning Fire Department 1891-1991, written by former firefighter Gary Long, there’s an account of an incident in the community  June 23, 1912.

Firefighters were battling a major blaze that destroyed several buildings when they lost water pressure from a hydrant. Chief Fred Jodrie went to investigate the obstruction and out shot a half dozen or so eels.