Mike (Spyke) Pintar
Saturday November 4, 2017
For all that he is good natured and regarded by many close friends as an easy-going jokester, Timmins Fire Chief Mike “Spyke” Pintar has always taken his job so seriously. Pintar first entered the fire service back in 1991 as a volunteer with the Schumacher brigade. At the time he was working in the plant engineering department at the Dome Mine. Nearly 10 years after that, he made the switch to apply as a full time firefighter. He climbed the career ladder quickly, becoming the deputy chief after six years and then was named chief a year later.
During his career with the Fire Department, Spyke spent 6 years as a Volunteer Firefighter, 20 years as a full-time firefighter and in that time, 13 years as Fire Chief. If there was a fire that still gives Pintar the shivers it was Forest Fire No.9 -- not the Fire No.9 that happened in 2012 around Kenogamissi Lake -- it was the Fire No.9 that happened near Vipond Road in May of 2010. He said it could have been a disaster because it was so close to built up areas of Timmins, Schumacher and the Dome Mine.
Pintar remembers the afternoon when Schumacher volunteers rushed to the scene by the tower road, off Vipond, and heavy smoke was filling the sky. Pintar drove to the other side of the fire by the Back Road and because his car couldn’t negotiate the trail, he got out and ran up the hill only to be shocked by what he saw.
The flames were huge, as high as the power lines so he activated his portable radio and called the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) for help. He was told that MNR water bombers were not immediately available. Pintar knew that wouldn’t be good and told them they needed to be there immediately or there would be too much loss.
Within 20 to 25 minutes the MNR had positioned a spotter aircraft over the area. . What followed was a methodical attack on the blaze by a squadron of heavy Canadair water bombers that lasted until dark. Pintar also notified the Dome Mine because smoke from the burning forest was moving toward the mine. The mine shut down operations that day.
Pintar knew how serious the situation was and was quick to activate a response with firefighters on duty, volunteers, and the MNR. As he settles into retirement, Pintar looks back on that fire and says it was one of the departments best jobs as they were able to get the fire under control quickly and keep citizens safe.
Enercare and the Timmins Rock would like to thank Spyke Pintar for his years of service and recognize him as our Hero of The Game.