No injuries were reported, but about $30,000 of damage happened in a residential house fire on the southside late Thursday.
Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services responded to a residential fire in the 1400 block of 43 Street South at approximately 10:40 p.m. Thursday, after neighbours discovered the fire and called 911. When firefighters arrived on scene, there was visible smoke, officials said in a news release Friday.
Crews from three stations responded and extinguished the fire. There were no injuries and damage is estimated to be $30,000.
The fire has been investigated and determined to be accidental caused by an electrical fault.
Residents are reminded that there is a fire risk when portable electronic devices are left plugged in. Appliances continue to draw a current when left plugged in and a faulty device can cause a fire.
Deputy fire chief retiring
After nearly 35 years on the job, Deputy Fire Chief Roy Pollmuller will be retiring from the Lethbridge Fire Department at the end of 2018.
“I am really looking forward to this next phase to see what life will bring me,” says Pollmuller. “I have got grandkids. I have got a lot of other family responsibilities and I am looking forward to be able to say ‘yes’ when my family or friends ask me for help. You give a lot of energy to this job over 34 years, and if you don’t have that enthusiasm and serious amount of energy there deep down you know it’s time to go. I feel I have contributed a lot here and it’s time to contribute my energy somewhere else, perhaps. I think my family is pretty happy to have a slice of me now.”
Pollmuller started out as a paramedic in Medicine Hat in 1983 before moving to Lethbridge. He has worked more in an administrative capacity for the past 13 years, but before that he was a long-time first responder.
Boxing Day still draws shoppers
Shoppers took to the streets and to their favourite retail outlet Wednesday morning to get their hands on hundreds of items that have major discounts for the annual Boxing Day shopping extravaganza.
Connie Sharp, is among those who have made Boxing Day an annual tradition in their family, waiting for Christmas to pass to purchase big items, in a dash for the best prices. In previous years, Sharp waited hours before the store opened to be one of the first in the stores, but now the wait isn’t always necessary.
“I came out first thing this morning so that I would be able to buy my family a new Smart TV for about $500 cheaper,” says Sharp. “It’s not as busy as it used to be because of online shopping and whatnot, but it makes it easier to come on Boxing Day and get exactly what I wanted for a great price.”
Online shopping is becoming more popular through Cyber Monday and online retailers clearing out this year’s items for a fresh start in the new year. Although people enjoy spending their money without leaving the comfort of their own home, many shoppers still see the value in hands-on shopping.
“I seem to never get exactly what I want when I do online shopping, which is why I have stayed with my Boxing Day tradition,” says Jason Meyer.
Police have more power to stop impaired drivers
Check Stop season is here as drivers well know. And while city police are conducting roadside checks at various locations on weekends, under changes to the Criminal Code of Canada that came into effect Dec. 18, they can now ask any driver to do a breathalyser test without any reasonable suspicion of impairment.
Lethbridge police are spending six hours nightly during the Christmas season on weekends conducting roadside checks, looking for impaired drivers at various locations. But even in mid-week, drivers can’t be complacent because they can still be pulled over at any time.
At the second media-invited Check Stop of the season the night of Dec. 22, Acting Sergeant Brent Paxman emphasized the need for drivers to be aware of the change in law.
Much focus of Canadians has been on legalized marijuana and the impact its use has on driving.
The city police stated several weeks ago they have a drug identification expert available at all times to check drivers who are suspected of being intoxicated on THC.
The new law is said by Ottawa to make Canada’s stand against impaired driving among the world’s toughest.
Toy Drive brings holiday cheer
The seventh annual Lowe’s stores Toy Drive brought holiday cheer to underprivileged children across Canada.
Lowe’s stores in Canada partnered with the Salvation Army for their Toy Drive campaign and collected close to 7,740 new unopened toys. In Alberta, more than 1,380 toys were donated to local children through the Salvation Army and in other Canadian cities.
The toys were collected between Nov. 19 and Dec. 16 at 66 Canadian Lowe’s stores, including in Lethbridge.
Malcolm Parks, divisional vice-president, Operations for Lowe’s stores in Canada, said Lowe’s is thankful to everyone who contributed to bringing joy to thousands of children.
“It really warms my heart to see our Lowe’s stores toy drive get bigger and bigger every year. Our employees, customers and fellow citizens are incredibly generous,” said Parks.
Lt-Colonel John Murray, Secretary for Communications for The Salvation Army, said they are also thankful to Lowe’s and its network of stores, who are great partners of The Salvation Army.
Leisure centre nearly completed
There’s still no official opening date.
But officials say construction of the $110-million ATB leisure centre is nearly complete.
Work is on schedule for a spring opening, they confirm. Soon, trucks will be arriving with fitness equipment and furniture for the multi-featured facility.
Flooring is being installed throughout the 256,000-square-foot centre, they report, including tiling in the aquatics area. Surfacing is already in place in the field house and gymnasium, as well as the upper-level running track.
In the aquatic area, the liner in the lap pool is being completed, to be followed by a liner for the leisure pool.
It will include a six-lane, 25-metre pool for lap and conditioning swims, alongside “lazy river” and “disturbed water” attractions. A whirlpool and a teaching pool will also be provided.
The Lethbridge YMCA will operate the pools as well as the Cor Van Raay Fitness Centre.
Food kiosks and retail outlets will also be provided.
The centre, at the west end of Whoop-Up Drive, is the second phase of a civic improvement that saw two NHL-sized hockey arenas and a new curling rink opened two years ago.
Charges laid after drug raid
Six people are facing charges after police, executing a search warrant, raided a northside home Friday and found pre-packed heroin and carfentanil.
The warrant was executed at a home on the 200 block of 15 Street North where 13 people were located, nine of whom had outstanding arrest warrants, some being multiple.
The raid was conducted by members of the downtown policing unit, traffic response unit and K9 unit with help from the violent crimes unit, and school resources officers and training unit.
During the search, two more people were arrested after one came by to purchase drugs and another met with police nearby after calling the house to set up a drug deal.
Police seized 21 pre-packaged doses of carfentanil, 16 pre-packaged doses of heroin, stolen identification and health cards plus stolen property that included skis, a mountain bike and tools.