UPDATED: Fire Department hosting stranded travellers involved in wreck

Mitch MacDonald
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Published on February 16, 2014

A couple walk past the cenotaph and Province House during a lull in the storm in Charlottetown.

Published on February 16, 2014

A City of Charlottetown plow clears the sidewalks on Water Street.

Published on February 16, 2014

The sidewalks are cleared on Great George Street, but few people were venturing out at the height of the storm Sunday.

Published on February 16, 2014

Great George Street in Charlottetown was deserted during the storm Sunday afternoon.

Published on February 16, 2014

A major winter storm is pounding Prince Edward Island. Prince County and western Queens County are taking the brunt of the storm, as seen here by this photo from Emerald, P.E.I. taken Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014

Published on February 16, 2014

Crews are working to deal with a large dumping of snow the province received overnight and this mornng.

Published on February 16, 2014

This photo was take by Linda Rodgers in Millvale P.E.I.

Published on February 16, 2014

Jeff MacKay of Summerside snapped this photo outside his home Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. The storm is particularly bad in Prince County.

Published on February 16, 2014

Jeff MacKay of Summerside snapped this photo outside his home Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. The storm is particularly bad in Prince County.

Published on February 16, 2014

A look at Elmsdale, P.E.I., in western P.E.I., as taken from the P.E.I. government highway camera as of 1 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014.

Published on February 16, 2014

A shot of the intersection near the Blue Shank Road and Route 2 east of Summerside via the P.E.I. government's highway cameras on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 1 p.m.

Published on February 16, 2014

Near white-out conditions seen through the P.E.I. government's highway camera in Albany, near Borden-Carleton, on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014 at 1 p.m.

Published on February 16, 2014

A major winter storm is pounding Prince Edward Island. Prince County and western Queens County are taking the brunt of the storm, as seen here by this photo from Emerald, P.E.I. taken Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014

Published on February 16, 2014

Winds are starting to pick up in St. Peters as captured by this photo by our friend at Water Street Fish and Chips on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014

BORDEN-CARLETON - A fire department and community of good Samaritans went above and beyond to make a group of visiting hockey families feel at home after being involved in a multi-vehicle pileup in the midst of a whiteout blizzard here Sunday.

The Borden-Carleton fire department hosted more than 25 individuals, many of whom were involved in the North River Sweetheart Tournament, after being involved in a wreck near the Confederation Bridge in the morning.

Not all staying at the department were involved in the collision.

Some had been stranded in the community after the blizzard, which saw weather warnings in all three counties, led to zero visibility conditions in many areas of P.E.I.

With nowhere to go and motels in the area all booked full or inaccessible, the department let them stay until conditions cleared and they could be transported elsewhere, said fire chief Paul Murphy.

"There's no sense of risking anyone's lives to try and get them out on the highway. We're just going to try and keep everybody comfortable here," said Murphy during an interview with The Guardian.

RCMP said five cars were effectively written off in the pile-up, which led to the Confederation Bridge being shut down at 10:30 a.m.

Diane MacPhee and her daughter were travelling in one of the vehicles involved in the wreck and later stayed at the department.

She had nothing but praise for the department and its firefighters, who provided the stranded individuals with coffee and donuts throughout the day. Family members and other locals also baked and made sandwiches throughout the day to keep the group comfortable.

"It's amazing, they're feeding us, giving us coffee," she said. "Going above and beyond really."

MacPhee had paid her bridge toll and was coming up to the entrance of the link when she was involved in the collision.

"They said it was nine cars but it was such a blur. You couldn't see at all," said MacPhee. "But we had a pretty quick response from the fire department."

Sharon Floyd, of Lower Sackville, was not involved in the collision but had been coming up to the toll when she learned of the pileup.

She also ended up being impressed by the goodwill of the department.

 "I can't say enough good about these guys," said Sharon Floyd, of Lower Sackville. "We're doing great thanks to them."

Colleen Doyle, of Sackville, N.B., was not involved in the collision but had learned friends of hers were as she made her way to the bridge.

"We started off from Charlottetown and it was alright, the closer we got to here the worse it got for whiteouts," she said. "You couldn't see across the street."

Doyle and Floyd were both at the Gateway Petroleum ESSO when the fire department invited their group in.

Doyle said while the ordeal has been a bit of a shake up, individuals are happy there were no major injuries.

"Vehicles can be replaced but people can't."

Deteriorating conditions and near-zero visibility caused the pile-up and also made it so that police initially had a hard time reaching the scene.

Island EMS also responded to the collision along with members of Prince District RCMP.

The conditions through much of P.E.I. led to individuals abandoning vehicles in some areas, while police asked individuals to stay off of the roads.

Route 2 from Tignish to Summerside was closed as well as part of the Trans-Canada Highway.

The winter storm warning was lifted by Environment Canada Sunday night as conditions began to clear.


Organizations: RCMP

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Recent comments

    February 17, 2014 - 11:52

    This has nothing to do with being "islanders" These are just generous, caring people, and they are all over the world, so let's let's not congratulate ourselves for being such a wonderful bunch, because there are wonderful people here, there are also those who would walk by you laying in the street. The people doing this deserve the kudos, not the place they live.

  • Josie young
    February 17, 2014 - 08:17

    I'am so proud of the people on the island I have called home for twenty years I was not born there but I love that island and every person on the island, great job everyone and I've always known u all to be that way u have again done some wonderful little thing to help others. I can't wait to go home again this summer and tell u all myself how proud i'am of all of u. Love u pei

  • Hockey dad
    February 16, 2014 - 18:33

    Many of the people involved were going home after the weekend hockey tournament, some games played this morning were in Borden and instead of driving back to Charlottetown they tried the bridge, many others are still stuck in hotels just waiting, I'm lucky our games were over yesterday and we left right away.

  • terri
    February 16, 2014 - 16:33

    wow--carol emailed me this morning said it is aful there

  • Robert Chalmers
    February 16, 2014 - 15:26

    Yvette Burke, please read the post from Just Wondering Just A Fool. It is one thing to drive to the corner store in a storm, but to imply the accident was caused by some Islanders driving to Moncton in the middle of a blizzard to shop tells me the poster is nothing but a moronic troll.

  • Just Wondering Just a Fool
    February 16, 2014 - 15:15

    Well Just Wondering, you were just made to look the fool. They were all from off Island and heading home. So much for you stupid post about Islanders heading to shop n Moncton. As was said before, you are just a troll.

  • Nannook
    February 16, 2014 - 14:06

    Didn't actually know that the whole highway (2) was closed. Good to know. It is pretty bad here in Kildare Capes.

  • mr smart pants
    February 16, 2014 - 13:53

    Really an accident???? Wow you're smart take a bow!!!!!

  • Why
    February 16, 2014 - 13:19

    Is the wind warning over? It's blowing 100/km/h in Kings county/ zero visibility. And some of us do need to travel!! Very poor weather reporting!!

  • Janice
    February 16, 2014 - 11:46

    Accident PEI bridge.

  • Just Wondering!
    February 16, 2014 - 09:28

    This advisory will not stop the same ol' regulars from going to the Walmart and Dollarstore. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night and day and wind and slippery roads will keep them away from shopping for nothing.

    • Bob Jones
      February 16, 2014 - 12:31

      Just wondering, who can you possibly know that is where they were travelling to? Many drive to Moncton or Halifax for medical appointments, the airports or family or even jobs. Too bad that internet trolls like you would not give it a rest once in a while.

    • yvette burke
      February 16, 2014 - 13:54

      OMG Bob, Just Wondering is just having fun with everyone, and it's true. I worked in a grocery store and he's right storm day were our busiest days. Give up the attitude and just sit back and relax and enjoy the storm. Do you really think we are not aware that this is very serious for some people??? give it a rest and look on the brighter side.

    • Just Wondering!
      February 16, 2014 - 15:22

      To Bob Jones: They published my comment under the wrong headline. It should have been published under: Wind warning ended, but storm surge and winter storm warning remain. As for these stranded travellers and this headline, it's unfortunate that they lost their vehicles but very fortunate they are still well and no reported injuries. Yet, they should not have attempted to travel is this mess.

    • don
      February 16, 2014 - 17:36

      anyone that needs to go out to get milk,bread,booze during a storm needs help. they are putting he lives of themselves on the line. they knew the storm was coming and the stores are open late. plus the workers going to and from work could get into mvc just so you can get a few things. does no one read or listen to the tv etc? if they are caught out in a storm and has a mvc and it is not an emergency then there insurance should not cover them.