Richard & Liz Bergeron

Calgary’s Real Estate Specialists

Richard's Cell: 403-819-2331 | Liz's Cell: 403-875-8470

Blogs
Posts By Date
Categories

WATCH ABOVE: Snow blankets the city of Calgary Saturday evening. 

CALGARY- Use precaution driving, Environment Canada predicts there will be 10 to 25 centimetres of snowfall across southern Alberta Saturday.

Snowfall warnings are in place for the following areas:

Okotoks-High River-Claresholm Lethbridge-Taber – Milk River

Kananaskis-Canmore

Crowsnest Pass-Pincher Creek-Waterton Lakes National Park Cardston-Fort Macleod-Magrath Brooks-Strathmore-Vulcan

Calgary is under the warning, but won’t see 20 cm, likely closer to 10cm or less.

Snow will continue overnight in Calgary, tapering off by mid day and then the sun will come out.

Bragg Creek has seen 5 cm accumulate so far.

Drivers are encouraged to adjust their driving with changing road conditions. Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow.

Just before 8 p.m. Saturday night, RCMP Cochrane closed Highway 22 1 KM North of Highway 1. Drivers were told to seek an alternate route due to MVC & Weather conditions.

Conditions across southern Alberta are expected to improve Sunday.

For specific updates, visit Environment Canada.

Read full post

Unlike previous years, trick or treaters in Calgary will not have to contend with a snow storm or bitter cold this Halloween.

“We don’t see this very often at end of October, usually we do have snow on the ground,” said Global Calgary weatherman Jordan Witzel.

“By about nine o’clock we’ll sit at nine degrees. “

Not too scary at all.

“The kids can show off their costumes instead of bulking up under winter jackets.. it’ll be great., said Miriam Joly, who’s son Theo is dressing up as a cow.

But Joly remembers other Halloweens when she went out under-dressed.

“I was probably eleven, dressed as a punk rocker.. insisting on not wearing a jacket.. and I froze,” recalled Joly.

It’s not just good news for ghosts and goblins on the trick or treat trail.

With Halloween falling on a Friday, local restaurants and bars are expecting a busy and lucrative night.

“It’s going to be great for business,” said Jon Molyneux of the National.

“I think especially because of all the foot traffic down here on 17th Avenue –  a lot of our business is weather dependent – it’s going to be a great night on 17th.”

But is it perfect storm for trouble in Calgary?

“The disturbers like to get outside too,” said Cst. Jim Lebedeff of the Calgary Police Service.

With that in mind, CPS will have extra eyes and ears out on streets.  And police ask people to be extra cautious this “hallows eve”.

Partner agencies will also be in residential neighborhoods, ensuring everyone can safely enjoy mother nature’s halloween treat.

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));
Read full post

EDMONTON – Alberta opposition parties are calling on the minister of finance to step down and requesting for a public inquiry into the entire government’s travel spending.

The requests came the same day Alberta’s Auditor General, Merwan Saher, publicly released a report on government travel and other expenses which concluded that Alison Redford and her office used public resources inappropriately while she was premier.

Read More: Redford’s misuse of travel spending caused by ‘aura of power': auditor general

The Wildrose has demanded Minister of Finance and president of Treasury Board Doug Horner resign, citing it was Horner’s responsibility to protect taxpayer’s dollars.

The auditor general report identified that it’s the responsibility of the Department of Treasury Board and Finance to approve flight requests from the premier’s office.

Wildrose MLA Kerry Towle says the Progressive Conservatives have tried to put all of the blame on Redford, but there are plenty of examples in the report that show planes were used inappropriately used by other MLAs.

The report provided details of Redford using government aircraft for trips that allegedly only involved partisan business, and incidents when she travelled on government aircraft with her and her daughter’s friends.

The report also identified two occassions when Redford’s daughter travelled on the aircraft without her.

Read More: Redford resignation: Premier directs justice minister to call for RCMP investigation into Redford’s flights

Alberta’s NDP is calling for a public inquiry. The party says the report implicates other ministers for inappropriate travel expenses.

The Alberta Liberals are also calling for Horner’s resignation, and would like to see the auditor general inspect other ministers’ travel expenses.

Premier Dave Hancock released a statement Thursday morning which read:

“Governments are entrusted to put the interests of the people they serve ahead of their own and to use public resources for public purposes only. That trust has been broken.”

Justice Minister Jonathan Denis said the RCMP will look into the report.

“As Attorney General, I have a duty to uphold the laws of Alberta and ensure everyone is treated fairly and equitably. I have instructed Tim Grant, Deputy Minister, Justice and Solicitor General, to forward the report and its attachments to the RCMP,” explained Denis.

“Any investigation that the RCMP does will be fully independent of my office and, as such, I will have no further comment on the matter.”

The RCMP has confirmed it’s received the referral from the justice minister, but is not sure if it will investigate.

Read full post

Watch above: Wind and rain is wreaking havoc around the Capital Region, including at the Edmonton International Airport, where dozens of flights have been cancelled or diverted. Fletcher Kent reports.

EDMONTON – Officials with the Edmonton International Airport say they are working to get back on schedule after approximately 48 flights were cancelled or diverted due to high wind conditions Friday.

Shortly before 5:30 p.m., EIA said the high wind weather event was subsiding. However, flight delays may continue as the airport works towards normal operations.

Earlier in the day, Heather Hamilton, a communications officer with EIA, said there were wind gusts of up to 95 km/h Friday.

In addition to the 48 flights that were cancelled or diverted, many flights experienced delays.

Jody Moseley, director of communications for the Calgary Airport Authority said 11 flights were diverted to Calgary. Passengers are being bused from Calgary to Edmonton.

People on other flights scheduled to leave from Edmonton are being transported to Calgary by bus to catch their flights there.

The airport is operating under high wind conditions which continued for most of the day.

READ MORE: Wet, blustery weather across Edmonton and Central Alberta 

The EIA is still operating and the runway is open. Some flights continue to arrive and depart.

“The decision to divert or cancel flights is guided by airline policy, and at the discretion of the pilot in the interest of passenger safety,” said EIA in a statement.

Passengers whose flights have been cancelled should contact their airlines for rebooking.

Flying to/from @FlyEIA today? Please check your flight status at http://t.co/8rVRBIwc58 before coming to the airport. #YEG

— WestJet (@WestJet) July 25, 2014

Travellers are asked to check the EIA’s website for flight information before leaving for the airport.

Passengers scheduled – or rebooked – for flights Friday night and Saturday are being asked to arrive at least two hours before their scheduled flights.

Read full post

CALGARY- About a dozen members of Calgary’s Sudanese community gathered outside the Harry Hays building downtown on Tuesday to call for an investigation into the alleged rape of 200 girls in North Darfur.

The protesters say local media in Sudan are reporting allegations Sudanese forces were behind the November attack and that some of the victims were as young as 8 years old. “The government is trying to cover up,” said activist Elgabir Osman. “What we are requesting is an independent impartial investigation and better protection for Darfur people.” The United Nations is currently investigating the allegations but Osman says he believes the UN is too closely tied to the government to be independent. The UN estimates 385,000 people have been forced to flee their homes since the beginning of the year when an armed conflict between the Sudanese government and several armed movements broke out.
Read full post

EDMONTON – Alberta’s newest Progressive Conservative members will sit in the legislature as far away as possible from their old Wildrose colleagues.

A seating chart shows that Kerry Towle and Ian Donovan are to sit in the back row on the government side of the house.

Because there are so many PC members, some of the governing party’s backbenchers sit on the opposition side of the house. If Towle and Donovan had been put there, they would have been just a few feet away from their old boss Danielle Smith.

READ MORE: Wildrose MLAs leave party to join PCs 

Towle and Donovan crossed the floor on Monday, saying they like what Premier Jim Prentice has to offer and that the Wildrose party has organizational and leadership problems.

Tory backbenchers Doug Griffiths and Pearl Calahasen have been moved to the opposition side of the house to make room for the newcomers.

New seating plan in the Alberta Legislature chamber, Nov. 25, 2014

Credit: http://www.assembly.ab.ca/
Read full post

EDMONTON – It’s a campaign that asks men in Alberta to show their support for stopping violence against aboriginal women.

The provincial government, along with the Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association, wants men and boys to wear moose hide swatches to show support for the cause.

“The more that we talk about the issues of violence against women the better it is,” says David Dorward, associate minister of aboriginal relations. “We need to elevate the understanding that it’s inappropriate, and then to be able to see concrete changes come as a result of that in our society.”

“It’s a time to celebrate because we are taking a look at that and taking a stand and moving towards changing things,” says Merle White, president of the Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association.

Read More: Premiers, native leaders call for forum on missing and murdered aboriginal women

As part of the campaign, the province is contributing $75,000 to promote honour and traditional values among boys and men.

“It’s not only a women’s issue and it should never have been a women’s issue,” says Marggo Pariseau with the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women. “It should have been men, family and the community.

“Violence has been around far too long and we don’t talk about it.”

Read More: Senators make case for missing women inquiry

The RCMP says aboriginal women are over-represented among Canada’s murdered and missing women. They account for more than 15 per cent of the murdered or missing. The latest count shows 1,200 aboriginal women have gone missing in recent decades.

There has been a call from a growing number of groups for a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

“The province is not opposed to an inquiry but we are moving ahead with initiatives that will recognize that the aboriginal women in the province of Alberta do have higher incidents of violence,” says Dorward.

“It may not resolve, but it would definitely increase the awareness,” says Pariseau.

“If the government says and has an inquiry, it’s saying it’s true, it does exist, and it’s not a part of our imagination and it’s not something we created in our kitchen.”

Read More: Harper on wrong side of history in opposing aboriginal inquiry: Trudeau

The federal Conservatives have resisted calls for an inquiry, saying dozens of studies have already been done and now is the time for action.

The government’s latest budget included a five-year, $25-million renewal of money aimed at stopping violence against aboriginal women and girls.

Read full post

WATCH: Peter Simons, CEO of Simons, discusses the company’s plan to expand across Canada including stores in Calgary and Vancouver

TORONTO – After 175 years, Quebec-based Simons is primed to make a major expansion push beyond the province with stores in five new cities across Canada.

The family-owned company will launch in Vancouver, Calgary, Mississauga, Ont., Ottawa and Gatineau, Que., beginning next year and into 2017. With the exception of West Edmonton Mall, the eight other existing Simons stores are based solely in Quebec.

“We had a vision of what we wanted to accomplish and be able to do in terms of design and innovation in retail, and I felt that we had to enlarge,” CEO Peter Simons said in a phone interview.

“We’ll still be a very small company in the context of competition today, but we had to expand our footprint a bit to give us the freedom and flexibility to accomplish what we wanted to do.”

Simons didn’t offer specifics on the number of people they plan to employ, but reasserted the company’s commitment to quality service.

“We understand you have to have people there. So I can tell you the density of service per square foot is way more intense than any other store our size in the country.”

The new stores will range from 80,000 to 113,000 square feet and will be built within both new and existing structures.

The first location is set to launch at Les Promenades Gatineau in Quebec next August, followed in October 2015 by the opening at Park Royal in West Vancouver. In 2016, Simons stores will open at Square One in Mississauga in March and Ottawa’s Rideau Centre in August. Simons is slated to open at The Core in Calgary in March 2017.

John Simons originally founded the company as a dry goods store in Quebec City in 1840. Brothers Peter and Richard Simons are now at the helm. Simons has more than 2,000 employees and offers an extensive range of apparel from moderately priced separates to higher-end offerings from a stable of homegrown and international designers.

The retailer also has sub-departments spanning the spectrum of sartorial tastes. On the women’s side, there’s the youthful, style-forward Twik, Icone for the young professional urbanite and classic elegance from Contemporaine. Menswear offerings include chic eveningwear in Le 31, and trendy streetwear in DJAB.

Accessories, leisurewear and a vast array of products for home are also carried, but Peter Simons eschewed the “department store” label.

“We’re unique,” he said. “I don’t do cosmetics. I don’t do hard goods and washers and dryers. I’m not a department store. I’m a large-scale specialty retailer.”

Simons said customers are savvy in how they pair fast-fashion pieces with pricier garments, and that the breadth of items available at his stores correlates to existing consumer habits.

“You can mix up a Dries Van Noten jacket if you want with a basic T-shirt,” he said. “That’s how people are shopping, and at some of the pure private label players that are coming in from overseas, you can’t do that.

“I like that about our assortment. I think it’s very customer-centric, and even if you don’t buy the higher-end pieces, there’s a whole educational value and fashion interest. It’s about creativity and beauty and expression and stylism.”

Despite its lengthy history, Simons said the transition from regional player to the national stage marked a big change. He was also candid in acknowledging the retailer still remains unknown in much of the country.

“After 175 years, people really understand our exclusive merchandise and appreciate the value and quality that’s there. And in new markets where people don’t really know us, there’s a discovery process that has to go on that just doesn’t fall from the sky.”

Simons is joining an increasingly crowded field of retail players expanding within Canada.

Holt Renfrew recently launched its first stand-alone store for men, with plans to update flagship stores in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto and to unveil new stores in Montreal and Mississauga.

American companies are also clamouring for a slice of the Canadian retail pie with the anticipated launch of the first two Saks Fifth Avenue stores north of the border in the spring of 2016. Seattle-based Nordstrom Inc. has already opened its first Canadian location in Calgary, with new stores in Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto in the works.

Simons said the company will be “globally competitive in all of the core things” and expressed pride in being a homegrown brand at a time when many competitors are headquartered outside of Canada. He pointed to Simons’ support of the arts community – which includes showcasing works by homegrown talents – among the retailer’s distinguishing characteristics.

“We’re part of the fabric here. We want to participate in the community,” said Simons.

“We’re not owned by Wall Street; we’re not being driven by the next quarter. And when your name’s on the door, it makes a difference.”

Read full post

CALGARY – A portion of southbound Highway 2 was closed for several hours on Tuesday as police investigated a crash.

Two vehicles were involved in a collision near Veterans Boulevard just before 4 a.m.

The incident sent a teenage male to hospital with minor injuries, and forced the closure of Highway 2 between Veterans Boulevard and Yankee Valley Boulevard.

Police say it was indicated to them that a second male may have been involved, but didn’t stay at the scene of the crash.

Investigators believe the trucks weren’t actually driving on the QEII, but had traveled through a fence off of Edmonton Trail to enter the busy highway.

Police were involved in the pursuit of at least one vehicle on Tuesday morning in relation to a break and enter, but won’t confirm if that incident is in any way connected to the collision.

The QEII highway was reopened just before 7:30 a.m.

Read full post

CALGARY – A Calgary couple is looking for help after their honeymoon took a tragic turn.

Recently married Peter Ingram and Lihsuan Law were honeymooning in Colombia on November 16th, when Law suffered a massive brain hemorrhage.

The incident hospitalized Law, who has now undergone numerous surgeries and tests.

The young woman is in the ICU at E.S.E. Hospital in Medellin, Colombia, but her family hopes to move her back to Canada as soon as possible to ensure she receives the best medical care available.

An online fundraising campaign has been established to help pay for Law’s transportation back to Canada, as well as her medical costs. The cost of flying her back to Canada alone is expected to be more than $100,000 and won’t be covered by her insurance.

According to the online campaign, all donations made through the fund will go directly to Law’s care.

Their fundraising goal has been set at $164,000.

Travis Dickie worked with Law for several years at a café in downtown Calgary, and hopes people will step up to donate.

“[Peter is] doing the best a new husband can… a man who loves his wife. He’s staying strong, he’s by her side,” says Dickie. “He’s updating us regularly… but ultimately, what do you do? You know? You’re hit with massive bills from insurance companies that just won’t pay up or just don’t cover this part of something.”

CLICK HERE to donate to Peter Ingram and Lihsuan Law’s online fundraising campaign.

Read full post

As debate starts at City Hall on a proposed four-year budget plan, some Calgarians worry the added costs will leave them behind.

Calgary leads the nation in economic growth, salaries and population increases, and now the city’s budget calls for big hikes in taxes and fees to pay for it all.

Troy Johnson spent his adult life providing for those in need, but the likely tax increases leave him wondering who will look out for him.

“Us folks in the front line working with disabled folks in Calgary, due to government cutbacks on funding and what not, (mean) every penny is super important for us,” said Johnson.

“We just have to really put a lot of work into our budgeting, and make sure we can make it through every week and every month.”

Budget plans include a 4.7 per cent tax increase for each of the next four years.

They also call for significant increases in utilities, including water and waste/recycling fees.

By the end of 2018, the average homeowner will have paid an additional $900 to the city.

However on Monday, councillors claimed it’s a tight, no-frills budget.

“It’s been a part of the conversation that we’ve had on council throughout this whole process, how do we keep the taxes as low as we possibly can while also maintaining some services for those same Calgarians who need them?” said Evan Woolley, councillor for Ward 8.

Calgarians could also pay more for annual transit passes. Tammy Poirier appeared before city council on Monday calling for a freeze on low-income passes.

“Right now with the rent and food increase, it’s going to be impossible for me to be able to afford my bus pass and to get around,” said Poirier.

Disability Action Hall said projected increases may be small, but to many struggling below the poverty line, it could mean staying home and doing without.

“We want to see those low-income transit passes frozen until September 2015 when the data is there to actually make an educated decision on financial impact,” said Colleen Huston with Disability Action Hall.

Huston said it does not make sense to add more buses to transit lines if they will just be passing by poor people, leaving them behind.

The city has set aside two weeks for the budget debate.

Read full post

WATCH ABOVE: As Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports, website surveillance is one of the areas that is being looked and MP Jason Kenney is pushing for legal changes that would grant more powers to preventative detention.

CALGARY- Prominent Calgary MP Jason Kenney says there are lessons to be learned from the attack on Parliament Hill.

Kenney said in order to combat terrorism in Canada, police need more powers.  So he is pushing for legal changes that would grant more powers to preventative detention.

The Calgary MP pointed to the man who killed Patrice Vincent, who was under RCMP surveillance, but could not be detained.

“We are consulting with police and intelligence agencies to see where there are gaps and we will respond accordingly. The most important responsibility of government is to keep Canadians safe and we know that there are terrorists in our country who are under surveillance and if they need to be detained because they are likely to commit an act of violence, then we need appropriate powers to do so.”

Kenney paid tribute to the two soldiers killed last month on Canadian soil.

At Saturday’s poppy parade at Chinook Centre, veterans, cadets, and reservists marched past stores and shoppers, all reminders of those who defend our country.

But this year, many of those watching the poppy parade are even more thankful of men and women in uniform. Joey Bleviss from Calgary’s Poppy Fund said the citizens of Canada have now come to recognize that it can happen on our own soil.

“That was just devastating. It just doesn’t happen overseas. I think that has brought awareness to the citizens that there is a need for protecting and for valuing our men and women who go to war for us.”

“These men were targeted and killed by a terrorist because they were Canada’s uniform,” Kenney said.

“I think it’s a pointed reminder that every person who serves in Canada’s uniform is putting their lives on the line. To the defense of all of us. It’s also a reminder that there are  people around the world who would do us harm and that we can never take our national security for granted,” Kenney said.

Kenney also says that Canada may need to look at getting tougher on websites that are recruiting possible terrorists and  that website surveillance is one of the areas that is being looked at.

“There are no legal powers to do so. So we are looking at what powers we may need to prevent online radicalization of individuals,” Kenney said.

Jonathan Denis, Alberta’s justice minister says more police powers are on the table, but he also wants to work with the Muslim community to prevent recruitment.

“I hate to make a knee jerk reaction. I think we need to look at the broader perspective, look at the reports and see what can be done to prevent this in the future,” Denis said.

But civil rights groups caution, the calls for new police powers may be an overreaction.

A joint statement this week from 15 privacy and information commissioners raised concerns that proposed measures could infringe on civil liberties and privacy rights.

On Monday, Canada’s public safety minister tabled a bill that would expand the powers of CSIS to monitor and track suspected terrorists and provide increased protection for confidential sources.

“We are consulting with the appropriate authorities and we will be responding accordingly. We have a bill in Parliament right now to add additional powers for CSIS our intelligence agency, to be able to monitor Canadian terrorists abroad but there are clearly some more things we need to do here domestically learning from the two recent terrorist incidents in Canada.”

Read full post

CALGARY- Some animals at the Calgary Zoo were treated to pumpkins, yams and gourds over the Halloween weekend.

The Amur tigers and otters enjoyed snacking on the orange treats Saturday.

Two species each day received special enrichment items.

On Halloween, Friday October 31st, it was also Lobi the hippo’s 8th birthday.

Read full post

Dozens of people gathered Saturday at the first of many sunrise ceremonies set to take place along Memorial Drive. At 8:30 A.M. three flags were raised at the Field of Crosses Memorial Project while people sang the Canadian national anthem.

This year, there are more than 3000 crosses lined up. Each cross represents a fallen southern Alberta soldier and is inscribed with the age, name, rank and regiment of the person who died.

“Every cross tells a story, a humans story. A father lost, a son lost, families that would never be the same again because one man went to fight for what we have now,” Murray McCann said, the founder of ‘Field of Crosses’.

The Field of Crosses runs every year from November 1st to 12th and it coincides with the Calgary Poppy Campaign and the Annual Veterans and Seniors Food Drive. The food drive is in its 8th year and cash and food donations can be made at the Crown Surplus store in Inglewood.

The official kick off took place Saturday afternoon, when several dignitaries were present including representatives from the Armed Forces.

Field of Crosses goes up along Memorial Drive.

Global News
Read full post

internet-computer.jpg
Islamophobia has been an ongoing concern in the west since 9/11, but a number of recent incidents in Britain have given rise to a new wave of hatred that experts say is finding a breeding ground online.
Read full post

Alberta’s chief medical health officer doesn’t believe health workers returning from West African countries where Ebola is prevalent should face suspicion or isolation.

“To make it clear, these people are true heroes,” said Dr. James Talbot, Chief Medical Officer of Health.

“They’re putting their lives on the line for the rest of us, and they recognize that none of us are safe – and in any country in the world none of us are completely safe until the people in those three countries are safe,” he added.

But Alberta health officials do have the power to enforce a quarantine, and have in the past.

It’s legislated under the public health act, and was used earlier this year during measles outbreaks in several parts of the province.

“For measles we do have that ability to quarantine people and restrict their activities, and that has been done when there has been a case of measles in a school for non-immunized individiuals for instance,” said Dr. Judy MacDonald of Alberta Health Services.

Last month, Alberta Health sent a letter home to parents warning them any children without immunity to diseases like measles may be barred from school for up to 21 days if they are exposed.

Health officials have the power to lay charges for anyone defying such orders.

“There is that possibility because the public health act is law, and the regulations that accompany it, including the communicable diseases regulation, is law,” added Dr. Macdonald.

When it comes to Ebola, officials maintain the risk to Canadians is low, since he disease is not airborne and people are only infectious while they are experiencing symptoms.

Read full post

CALGARY- RCMP have revealed details about a dramatic arrest near Carstairs on Thursday.

They say on Thursday night, a man allegedly shot a gun at a driver to steal their vehicle on highway 2A near Carstairs.

They say the suspect drove south when Mounties began to pursue him.

The vehicle made a full stop in a field west of Beiseker and after a brief standoff, the suspect surrendered.

They say three guns, brass knuckles, and drugs were found in his possession.

39-year-old Jody Dullian of Drayton Valley now faces nearly two dozen charges including discharge of a firearm, flight from police, and sexual assault.

Dullian will appear in Didsbury provincial court on Monday.

Read full post

CALGARY- Friends and family gathered to remember well-known Calgary-based political strategist Rod Love at a memorial service in the southwest Saturday.

The service was held at the Calgary Golf and Country Club.

Attending the ceremony was premier Jim Prentice, opposition leader Danielle Smith and former Ontario premier Mike Harris.

Love died on Sunday at the age of 61. He had been battling pancreatic cancer.

Love served more than 30 years as a political consultant and was chief of staff in all three levels of government.

He is perhaps best known for serving as Chief of Staff for former premier Ralph Klein.

Love is survived by his wife Charlene, son James, and daughters Katie and Haley.

Read full post

It is time to plug in the vehicle for many of us when it gets really cold at night.

A Calgary man warns to check electrical cords before plugging-in.

On Nov. 14 around 11 p.m., someone knocked on Andrew Newton’s door and said his garage was on fire.

Newton ran outside to find his 2003 Ford Winstar on fire inside.

“There was some flame and there was quite a bit of smoke coming out from the undercarriage on the driver’s side because the tires were already starting to burn,” said Newton.

He called 911, and the fire department put out the fire before the garage burned down.

They traced the fire to the block heater cord in the vehicle.

“We had some maintenance done about a month, or month-and-a-half, ago and we actually called the guy that did some work on it, and he said he hadn’t looked at the block heater at all,” said Newton.

“But he said he has heard of block heaters causing issues like that before.”

There are not any statistics on block heater fires in Calgary, but according to investigators, exposed or frayed electrical cords cause most fires.

Many auto shops include them on a winter inspection checklist, but mechanics say beyond that, they’re ignored.

Over time, salt, water and heat from the engine can damage the connections, and the older the vehicle, the greater the potential for damage.

“Just over time and continual use plugging in, the cord becomes frail and brittle over time and they can break,” said Dave Dansereau from Lad’s Auto.

“They get closed in hoods and the cord gets broken. We’ve seen them pulled out from somebody forgetting to unplug them, and they get yanked on and then they get pinched.”

Newton is still waiting for the insurance company to settle his claim.

He said when he gets a new vehicle, he will check the block heater connections regularly.

According to the fire department, drivers should only use extension cords designed for outdoor use when plugging-in their cars outside.

Read full post
Data is supplied by Pillar 9™ MLS® System. Pillar 9™ is the owner of the copyright in its MLS®System. Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by Pillar 9™.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.