Ontario recognizes township for emergency management during December storm
February 24, 2023
By Chris Gareau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Township of Adelaide Metcalfe is officially certified appreciated by the Province of Ontario for its work during the December winter storm that stranded over 50 vehicles on roads and highways running through Adelaide Metcalfe.
The Certificate of Appreciation for “commitment and outstanding contributions to the field of emergency management in Ontario” came from Minister responsible for Emergency Management Ontario Prabmeet Singh Sakaria.
Mayor Sue Clarke presented it at the Feb. 6 council meeting.
“I think it’s only fitting that even though it’s addressed to the Township of Adelaide Metcalfe, I’d like to give it to the fire department for you to have at the hall,” said Clarke.
“I think you guys deserve it the most,” the mayor added as she handed it over to fire chief Dan Parker.
The certificate came into the office the day after the last council meeting Jan. 16. Mayor Clarke described the incredible circumstances of the winter storm and the emergency response.
“Just 32 days into this term we had to declare a state of emergency due to the snow event that hit on Dec. 23. And it was primarily at the Kerwood Road and the 402 area that were hit pretty hard. With 52 vehicles involved, the Adelaide Metcalfe Fire Department called in for mutual aid from Warwick and the Strathroy-Caradoc fire departments,” explained Clarke.
“Basically, all three fire departments were full-on, and they were responding to multiple accidents all occurring at the same time in both directions of the 402 for over a kilometre stretch of that area.
“And with all the lanes blocked, the Adelaide Metcalfe – one of their fire engines couldn’t actually get through. And just to tell you how remarkable our firefighters are, these guys were operating in whiteout conditions. They were fighting high winds, drifting snow; they’re walking on black ice that they can’t really see under the snow. And these guys hauled the rescue equipment by foot over 750 metres in these conditions to rescue the trapped motorists. And Adelaide Metcalfe and Strathroy-Caradoc worked together organizing those stranded onto buses that transported them to a reception room at the Gemini Sportsplex.”
She gave a big thanks to Warwick and Strathroy fire departments, EMS and OPP officers.
Clarke also shouted out Coulter Cahill’s public works department road crew.
“These guys worked around the clock clearing snow away as fast as they could clear it, it was drifting back in,” said Clarke.
“I don’t think I’ve seen a drift on Mayfair Road that high. So they had to bring in extra equipment in when the storm did settle down.”
Adelaide Metcalfe’s state of emergency was in effect for three days, ending Dec. 26.
Chris Gareau is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for The Middlesex Banner.
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