Steinbach's Fire Chief says it is surprising how many incidents his crews responded to in 2019.

In crunching the numbers, Kel Toews says there were 297 calls for service in 2019. That is only three fewer than in 2018, yet, for the last half of last year Steinbach's coverage area shrunk with the opening of the new fire hall in Blumenort.

"That's not a big drop," says Toews, who suggests a fairly active grass fire season in spring was probably the contributing factor.

According to Toews, their busiest month of 2019 was June, when crews were called out 38 times. Toews says that too is probably a result of the grass fire season.

Of the 297 calls, 95 of them were false alarms and there were 64 motor vehicle collisions. The Fire Chief says both of those numbers are very similar to 2018.

Main Street at Reimer Avenue was the intersection with the highest number of collisions last year that required assistance from the Steinbach Fire Department. There were six crashes at that intersection. Following closely behind with four crashes each were the intersections of Main Street/ Brandt Street, Reimer Avenue/ Brandt Street and Main Street/ Hespeler Street.

Toews says he expects the trend towards fewer calls to continue in 2020. It reached a record high of 372 in 2017, but has dropped the last two years. Toews says that is due in large part to the fact their crews no longer respond to minor fender benders. He says he would not be surprised if their total for 2020 is in the range of 280 calls, due to the fact they will have a full year under their belt with a smaller coverage area.

"Although the start of this year has been pretty busy," he suggests.

Meanwhile, Toews says their biggest fire of the year was the Pennwood Dairy fire in August. He adds a highlight of 2019 was taking ownership of a new rescue truck in April.