One of our neighbours went home to Ottawa but left without properly putting out an outdoor wood fire. His next door neighbour came home at 9:30 pm and noticed smoke and flames on his neighbour’s property. He went over to the fire, hoping to extinguish it, but it was out of control and spreading towards his property.
He dialed 911 from his cellphone. Because we do not have enough cell towers in Pontiac, the 911 call went to Ontario. It took 10 minutes for the 911 operator of Ontario to relay the call to Quebec, who then contacted the fire department of Waltham. My neighbour could have driven to the Waltham fire chief’s house in less time! The Waltham fire department was at the fire scene until after 1:00AM.
The firemen of Waltham are all volunteers. They have to be reached by cell phone, but in our area, cell phone connection is more off than on, and usually weak. The Quebec government has been promising better cell phone communication for Pontiac but has never done anything about it. It’s time for this to change!