On October 21, 2013, members of the Rapid City Volunteer Fire Department in Rapid City, Man., received a page about a fire in the town. There was nothing unusual about this page, and as they have many times before; responded to the call with the sense of urgency that only a first-responder is familiar with. So many times before, these brave men and women show up at the fire hall, put on their equipment and get into their fire trucks and go and save someone’s home. But this time, it was their home that needed saving.
When firefighters arrived at the fire hall they found it engulfed in flames, with all of their equipment and fire trucks inside. There was nothing they could do to save the hall, and they stood in disbelief at what was happening before their eyes. “We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. We had to stand there and watch our equipment, our home, everything, burn right in front of us. We felt completely helpless,” said Rapid City Fire Chief Morley Cornish.
The fire totally destroyed the fire hall and severely damaged the Town Hall, leaving Rapid City without an operating fire service. Fire officials believe the fire started in an electrical cord from a new air compressor located inside the fire hall.
Rapid City has a long-standing relationship with TransCanada as the Canadian Mainline, the Keystone Pipeline and the proposed Energy East Pipeline Project are all adjacent to the town. Recognizing the need of the community and the fire department, TransCanada offered the fire service a donation of $50,000 to provide short-term equipment needs for the first responders.
“The fire service is currently not in operation; however this support from TransCanada will provide short-term equipment needs to our first responders, a first step in restoring a critical service to our town,” said Orest Woloski, Mayor of Rapid City.
TransCanada employees; Steve Loney and Shauna Kolaski presented the donation to Rapid City Mayor Orest Woloski, members of town council, and Fire Chief Morley Cornish on October 22; just one day after the fire. “This is one of the best parts about working for TransCanada. On behalf of TransCanada, I get to help an entire community, and make it a safer place by helping restore their ability to respond to emergency situations,” said Steve Loney, Community and Aboriginal Relations Liaison.
“Firefighters are one big family. We are all brothers and sisters. We may have temporarily lost our home, but the support from TransCanada has been overwhelming. They treated us as if we were part of their family and it’s something that the entire community is grateful for and it certainly won’t be forgotten,” said Morley.
TransCanada has been giving back to communities for more than 60 years and it’s something we’re proud of. Recently, TransCanada announced a four-year grant of US$825,000 to the International Association of Fire Chiefs. Supporting first responders is important to TransCanada, and to be able to restore a town’s ability to respond in an emergency situation, especially within one day; is especially gratifying.
In the last five years TransCanada has:
- Aided 3,872 organizations across 44 states, eight provinces and two territories in North America
- Provided $50 million in support, impacting 1,431 communities
- Donated $2.3 million directly to more than 370 fire departments in Canada and the U.S.
- Provided pipeline safety information to more than 14,000 emergency responders in the U.S. and 1,600 in Canada
- Supported residents affected by 17 natural disasters
- Enabled streamlined emergency response and communications for 336 fire departments in the U.S. and 91 in Canada