Tag Archives: Discovery

Everyday heroes grab the spotlight in Discovery’s Hellfire Heroes

There’s a saying being used on social media about not all heroes wearing capes. While it’s mostly being used in a cute or funny way, it’s apt when describing the folks in Discovery’s newest original series.

Bowing Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Discovery, Hellfire Heroes follows the firefighters of central Alberta who put their lives on the line every day in remote communities. Far from the big cities of the province, the men and women of the Lesser Slave Regional Fire Service and Yellowhead County Fire Department are charged with keeping folks and properties safe without the things we take for granted in larger communities.

Tuesday’s debut episode focuses on one of those differences when an expansive trailer home goes up in flames: a water source. With no fire hydrant system to use, the Lesser Slave squad relies on the water they’ve trucked into the site to knock the fire down. But the warren of buildings threatens the lives of two firefighters who’ve headed into the blaze.

We spoke to two members of the Yellowhead County Fire Department—Chief Albert Bahri and Lieutenant Gabriella Sundstrom (left in the image above)—about the show, why they chose this profession, what they hope viewers take away from watching Hellfire Heroes and what you can do to help out.

I’ve watched the first episode of Hellfire Heroes and it’s very dramatic stuff.
Chief Albert Bahri: This is what we do daily. A lot of people look at it and say it’s dramatic but for us, it’s what we do every day and a realistic view of what we do.

Chief Albert Bahri

It’s one thing to do your jobs every day, but it’s another to have television cameras and a production crew follow you while you do that. Did you have any reservations about being followed?
AB: Absolutely. Our job is to keep people safe or make people safe and keep our personnel safe. We do that very well, and when you bring in somebody from the outside that isn’t part of the team and that zone of safety that we have created, how do you deal with that and how do you bring them in so that they’re safe? We had huge reservations but they were alleviated when we looked the guys and started to work with them. We provided a great deal of training as well, so they knew when we needed to zag, they needed to zig and vice versa, to make sure they were in the right spot but also the safe spot. As a fire chief and a director here, in the beginning, it was interesting to see how to film this, while keeping in mind that you’re coming into someone’s life that is maybe the worst time in their life. The crews were spectacular.

Lieutenant Gabriella Sundstrom: At first, I thought it might be interesting to see how it went and then it turned out to be great. The guys had a lot of questions and they learned very quickly how to move with us and work with us.

One thing I noticed going through the biographies of so many of the firefighters involved is that this career goes through generations of families. Gabby, why is that?
GS: It’s kind of a community service. A lot of people want to help their communities somehow, whatever that may be. And I think the other part of it is the fire service has a huge tradition of honour and pride that people take in the service that they do. When you get a taste for that, it’s really hard to do anything else.

AB: When you have family members that he been involved in it, you’re very interested. My son, from the age of four, has been interested. I was intrigued as a younger person as well from my father who was in the military but had done some firefighting with that. It’s a huge community, a huge family, that you are part of. You actually have two families to turn to and they become intertwined and intermingled quickly. My son is a firefighter now and my daughter is interested in it. A lot of the people we have, they’ve gotten the bug from a family member.

What’s the bug? Is it to help people? Is it the adrenaline rush?
AB: I think it’s a combination of many things. I think a big part of it is to give back, as Gabby said, to your community. You want to help people. There is a great adrenaline rush. I remember my first call and the rush. Even now when a call comes in, it’s still there. But when you get it, you can’t get rid of it.

I live in Toronto, where fire hydrants are plentiful. Where you’re fighting fires, there just aren’t. What kind of logistical nightmare does that pose?
AB: That’s one of the things that, for me, made the show special. You look at the size of our area—22,000 square kilometres—and we don’t have any of those water supply areas in our rural spot. We have to bring it by truck. We have to find, once we empty that truck, where to refill. We have to strategically locate those areas. In Alberta, there are two seasons, winter and construction, and in winter there’s five feet of ice you have to cut through. We have to overcome that and it’s a huge struggle. We have very large water tankers and we are also locating tanks that we have put in the ground and insulated so we have water stored so we can go and take water out of those tanks.

What do you want viewers to come away with when they watch Hellfire Heroes?
GS: I hope they walk away with a better understanding of all the things that we do and the pride that we take in providing the best services that we can to people. And, when you see those flashing lights, pull over and let us get past you.

AB: I want them to see what we really do. I want them to see the size of our area but I want them to look at the whole service in general across Canada and say, ‘Is there a place that I can go and volunteer and get involved in this?’ Our volunteer membership across Canada is decreasing. My hope is to bring an awareness of what you can do and how to do it so that people can come forward and say, ‘I’d like to try that.’ You don’t know if you like it until you try it, so we’re more than willing to accept anybody that wants to try.

Hellfire Heroes airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Discovery.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Production underway for Discovery’s newest original Canadian series, Vintage Tech Hunters

From a media release:

Discovery announced today that production is currently underway for its latest original Canadian series, VINTAGE TECH HUNTERS. Co-commissioned by Discovery and Boat Rocker Studios, and distributed internationally by Boat Rocker Rights, VINTAGE TECH HUNTERS is produced by Crooked Horse Productions. The 14 x 30-minute series is filming in cities across North America, including Toronto, Ottawa, Niagara, Ont., Los Angeles, Dallas, and Chicago.

VINTAGE TECH HUNTERS features charismatic collectors Shaun Hatton and Bohus Blahut, who have turned an obsession with retro pop culture finds into their dream jobs. The vibrant duo scours Canada and the U.S., rooting through rickety attics, dusty garages, flea markets, and auctions for rare and nostalgic treasures. From original Nintendo Game Boys and priceless first-edition computers to animatronic toys, the pair aims to uncover rare and nostalgic treasures – because to the right collector, they’re worth a fortune.

VINTAGE TECH HUNTERS is produced by Crooked Horse Productions in association with Discovery Canada and Boat Rocker Studios, and distributed internationally by Boat Rocker Rights. Executive Producers for Boat Rocker Studios are Ivan Schneeberg and David Fortier, along with David Lerech and Bree Tiffin from Crooked Horse.

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Discovery’s newest original Canadian series Hellfire Heroes battles through the untamed flames, beginning May 22

From a media release:

In the fierce wilderness of Central Alberta, a uniquely versatile group of firefighters risk their lives to serve and protect the residents of isolated areas of the province. Discovery’s latest original Canadian series HELLFIRE HEROES, airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT beginning May 22, follows two rural Alberta fire departments – Lesser Slave Lake Regional Fire Service and Yellowhead County Fire Department – and their teams of brave men and women whose job is to always be prepared for the worst.

From the network that brought viewers the heroes of the highway with HIGHWAY THRU HELL and HEAVY RESCUE: 401, the debut of HELLFIRE HEROES further reinforces Discovery’s success in the prime-time space through uniquely Canadian content that tells the stories of authentic, everyday acts of courage. HIGHWAY THRU HELL and HEAVY RESCUE: 401 made Discovery the most-watched entertainment specialty channel in each show’s timeslot among key demographics (P2+, A18-49, and A25-54).

Living in a rural part of Canada where most residents depend only on themselves and their neighbours, the firefighters of the Lesser Slave Regional Fire Service (led by Chief Jamie Coutts) and the Yellowhead County Fire Department (led by Chief Albert Bahri) serve and protect a combined area spanning more than 30,000 square kilometres.

Fighting fires is only one of the many calls these heroes answer. Featuring stories of strength, fearlessness, and dedication, the HELLFIRE HEROES never know what challenge they’ll face next – battling raging forest fires, industrial accidents, search-and-rescue operations, saving lives on remote highways, freeing people trapped in elevators…even delivering babies. When the call comes in, day or night, these resourceful teams are united in their mission to keep residents safe.

Subscribers can access live streaming of HELLFIRE HEROES through the Discovery GO app and Discovery.ca.

HELLFIRE HEROES is produced by Pixcom Productions in association with Discovery Canada. Producer is Nicola Merola. Senior Supervising Producer is Manu Wiecha. Series Producer is Sharone Ostrovsky.

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Preview: Train lovers rejoice! Rocky Mountain Railroad chugs on to Discovery Canada

All aboard! Discovery’s Rocky Mountain Railroad is pulling out of the station, and you don’t want to miss this fun ride when it debuts Monday, March 5, at 10 p.m. ET on the specialty channel.

Produced by Cineflix Productions (Mayday) and Windfall Films in association with Discovery Canada, the documentary series features the folks and machinery of the Canadian Pacific Railway and Ontario Northland railway. Cameras capture how crews keep the nation’s critical freight and passenger trains rolling during the winter months by battling deadly avalanches, monster icicles, steep rockslides and dangerous wildlife.

I was particularly interested in the passenger angle of Rocky Mountain Railroad. My dad’s side of the family is from Cochrane, Ont., a stop on the Ontario Northland route and starting and end points for the Polar Bear Express train to Moosonee. I’ve always dreamed of riding the Polar Bear Express; I figure this show will keep that hunger sated until I can do the real thing. So, how does Rocky Mountain Railroad stack up to, say, Mighty Trains?

Quite well, in fact. Though I appreciate learning about trains and their crews in other countries, I’m a proud Canadian and as such love a program that focuses solely on us. Like Highway Thru Hell does for key roadways in the western parts of this country, Rocky Mountain Railroad does for the ribbon of steel by celebrating and spotlighting the machinery and humans that keep the rail lines open in the winter. Built more than 135 years ago and stretching 5,000 km across Canada, the Canadian Pacific Railway is a lifeline of fuel, freight and food that cannot be cut.

In Monday’s debut, steep grades and a lot of snow in Revelstoke, B.C., serve up a challenge for those charged with keeping the tracks clear. It’s fascinating to watch the snowplow crews do their work. Conductor Jim and engineer Jordy are hauling $50 million worth of freight from Vancouver—that had been on a massive ship from overseas—through an avalanche zone that’s just received lots of fresh snow, while a removal crew tackles giant ice columns at Eagle Pass that could spell disaster for passing trains. Viewers will learn a lot about avalanches in Episode 1, as well as what’s done to prevent them from taking out a train.

Meanwhile, Ontario Northland ships crucial materials to isolated communities in the north of the province in punishingly cold temperatures. On this stretch of rail, the train will stop and ship anything if you flag them down. In the case of George, it means filling an entire car with firewood for delivery to Moose Factory, Ont., where burning wood is the only economical option to keep warm.

If you’re a train fanatic, you’ll love Rocky Mountain Railroad. And even if you’re not, it’s an engrossing and informative look at the people and trains who keep things moving in some of the most dangerous places in the country.

Rocky Mountain Railroad airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on Discovery.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

 

 

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Photo gallery: Rocky Mountain Railroad; plus sizzle reel

I grew up being fascinated with trains. Some of my most treasured memories as a child are of bombing along country roads outside of Brantford, Ont., with my dad (he was behind the wheel) as we chased trains to railroad crossings. That feeling has never changed. I still get a thrill out of watching—and riding in—trains.

I know I’m not the only one. Heck, Discovery already celebrates that mode of transportation with Mighty Trains—Season 2 is currently in production—proving lovers of these rail riders is an international affection.

 

Now Discovery focuses solely on the country of Canada with Rocky Mountain Railroad. Debuting Monday, March 5, at 10 p.m. ET, the series features the folks and machinery of the Canadian Pacific Railway and Ontario Northland Railway. Cameras capture how the elite crews assembled keep the nation’s critical freight and passenger trains rolling during the winter months by battling deadly avalanches, monster icicles, steep rockslides and dangerous wildlife.

Take a peek at some of the trains featured in Rocky Mountain Railroad above and check out the teaser trailer for what to expect on March 5.

Rocky Mountain Railroad airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET beginning on March 5.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

 

 

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