When emergency response doesn’t respond, two children die in fire on First Nations Reserve…

Last night when I watched the evening news I learned that two young children had died in a fire near Loon Lake, Saskatchewan. Now while it is not unusual for people to die in house fires, in this case the deaths might have been prevented had emergency response teams actually responded. They did not respond, because the Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation reserve on which the fire took place was behind in their payments and Larry Heon (Fire Chief) said the reserve had “cancelled it’s firefighting contract with the community.”

Heon, also mayor of Loon Lake, says he was asleep when the 911 call about the blaze on the Makwa Sahgaiehcan reserve. was automatically rerouted to him at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, “But we didn’t go,” Heon told reporters, he went on to explain that the First Nation reserve had outstanding bills, and had sent the village a letter last year discontinuing their fire service.

Officials from the First Nation reserve expressed surprise when told to what Heon had said.  They believed that Loon Lake firefighters would respond to a fire on the reserve. The RCMP was the only emergency service to respond and by then it was too late, when officers arrived, Harley and Haley Cheenanow were already dead. Police arrived in time to watch the children’s father carry their bodies from a building fully engulfed in flame.

Chief Richard Ben a friend of the Cheenanow family, visited the man and his wife after hearing about what happened. Ben stated that he was not aware the reserve’s firefighting contract had been cancelled. Although there had been complaints about service provided to the reserve in the past, he believed an agreement was still in place.

“We’ve paid thousands upon thousands to that fire department,” he told reporters. “Other fires they’ve showed up. Other fires we paid them for it. And for them not to show up at this incident is kind of an insult of the First Nation.”

Kurt Schultz, the band’s finance director, also believed the contract was still in effect, but said he had not seen firefighters on the reserve since a fire there last winter. There was an open dispute about how much the reserve actually owed the village for firefighting costs.  Schultz, also added that someone else from the reserve could have cancelled the contract, but he was unaware of whom that person might be.

Is this what we have become as a society? Firefighters won’t save lives without a contract saying they have to do so because it’s been paid for? When did a town’s bottom line finances become more important than human lives?

Whether or not the Makwa Sahgaiehcan reserve was up to date on their service fees is not the issue here. What disturbs me most about this story is that the Fire Chief received an emergency call and went back to bed instead of mobilizing response, because the First Nation reserve was behind in their payments! 

Essentially, two children died because of money, and that is completely unacceptable! This kind of thing is becoming far too prevalent in today’s society. While the town of Loon Lake may have been financially correct in their response, they were morally wrong. It is horrifying to think that calling 911 gets no response if your village, town, or city hasn’t kept up on it’s emergency response fees.

How Larry Heon can live with himself after ignoring a fire call is something I can not imagine. How do you tell yourself “oh well, if someone dies it’s not my fault, they didn’t pay their bill.”? How do you live with yourself after you fail to send help and two children die? What is a child’s life worth these days Mr. Heon?


DO NOT FEED THE TROLL! 10 Important things about internet trolls…

18485898Trolls, you thought they were just for fairy tales, but they are real and they are taking over the internet!

How to tell if you’ve been creeped by a troll:

1) Trolls are narcissistic, sadistic, and psychopathic.

2) Trolls are people who make comments to upset others because they find joy in upsetting people.

3) Usually it is very difficult to tell the difference between a troll and somebody who is simply an asshole. It is important to note that a troll doesn’t always resort to insults.

4) Trolls will make statements unsupported by any evidence, and when asked for evidence supporting their claims will become verbally abusive with the person questioning them.

5) Trolls will seek out family and friends of their victims and begin to harass them online as well.

6) Trolls have far too much time on their hands, they usually end up being people who can not hold a job or have resorted to living off the system, thus giving them all day to surf the internet and spread their nastiness.

7) Trolls are usually poorly educated, and do not have the intelligence to argue their point, and as such are prone to resorting to personal attacks when challenged.

8) Trolls do not have overly active social media accounts. When you check the troll you will find no pictures or information available that identify them in any way. They usually have few people on their friend lists if any, and are famous for the “fake account”

9) Trolls do not understand the term “agree to disagree” if you do not agree with them they will begin to personally attack you, and anyone who comes to your defense.

10) The best way to handle a troll is to ignore them completely. They are looking for a reaction and when you don’t give them what they want they will soon move on in search of someone who will.

The most important thing I can tell you about internet trolls (and believe me I learned this the hard way) is DO NOT FEED THE TROLL!