Gore Bay fire chief praises apartment caretaker’s actions in fire

Mike Argue, the custodian of the Millsite apartment building in Gore Bay, is being praised by the local fire chief for his efforts in making sure a potentially very serious fire was contained.

GORE BAY – The caretaker of the Millsite apartment building in Gore Bay is being praised by the local fire chief for his efforts in making sure that a potentially serious fire was contained because of his actions.

“The bottom line is we (Gore Bay Fire Department) got called to respond to Millsite apartments, and when we got there, we were met by custodian Mike Argue who said everything was under control,” said Gore Bay Fire Chief Mike Addison. “He met me at the door and took me to the scene of the fire.” 

Mr. Addison explained, “when the power was off on Sunday (January 23), the apartment building had problems with its generator. Mike (Argue) had to manually start it up. And when the hydro came back on, he went to turn the generator off. It was then that Mike heard a smoke alarm go off in one of the apartment units.”

A plastic electric kettle had been left on a burner in one of the apartment units, continued Mr. Addison. He pointed out the person who resides in the apartment was not there at the time, but the burner had been left on. “There was nothing left of the kettle when Mike took me to the scene. The apartment was full of smoke, he had turned off the element, pulled what was left of the kettle off the stove, and also turned everything off.”

Mr. Argue told The Expositor, “like I told Mike, normally I wouldn’t have been there at that time but the generator wouldn’t start in the morning. But eventually I got it going. Then I went back into the building when the hydro came back on to turn off the generator and make sure the elevator was working and I could hear a smoke alarm going. I checked door to door to hear in which unit the alarm was the loudest.” 

“Yes, it was a plastic kettle that had burnt on a stove element,” said Mr. Argue. “It was a scary situation. It certainly created a lot of smoke for a little kettle.” He explained he had called the company that monitors and activates the fire alarm in the building and all the tenants in the building left their apartments and went to wait at the front outside the building. 

“No, I didn’t know if anyone was in the apartment at the time, but I checked. The tenant had been cold and went to her daughter’s to get warm,” explained Mr. Argue.  

“I credit Mike with preventing what could have potentially been very serious,” said Mr. Addison. He said there was extensive smoke damage in the apartment unit. “It may have caused a full-borne fire, but we’re sure glad it didn’t. Mike’s actions definitely reduced the damage there could have been.” 

Mr. Addison explained that once firefighters arrived on the scene, they took their large exhaust fan and cleared the smoke out of the apartment unit and reassured the residents that there was no fire. “Mike did everything right; lucky he was there and knew what to do.” 

The Gore Bay Fire Department had received the call to respond to the apartment building blaze at 7:32 pm on the evening of Sunday, January 23. 

“Any time we arrive at a potential fire scene and someone is there to greet us and say ‘everything is under control,’ is fantastic. I can tell you it doesn’t happen very often,” said Mr. Addison. “I certainly appreciated Mike’s efforts.”

“Mike (Argue) was on the scene quickly and did everything correctly, until the fire department arrived,” said Pam Bond, administrator of Gore Bay non-profit housing corporation.