© CARLA ALLEN PHOTO
UPDATE 12 p.m.: A building that was used to house part of the furniture inventory for Yarmouth business W.L. Nelson Ltd. was destroyed by fire early Thursday morning, April 9.
Aside from the Yarmouth Fire Department, firefighters and equipment from the Lake Vaughan, Port Maitland, Wedgeport and Eel Brook fire departments were on the scene battling the blaze, that was reported around 7:20 a.m. There were also some firefighters from the Carleton department on site.
Fighting the fire was complicated by the water availability at the scene. Acting chief John Wainwright told the Vanguard firefighters were augmenting the town's water supply with trucked-in water brought onto the scene by pumpers. The echo of sirens throughout the town could be heard for hours Thursday morning as they trucked water to the scene.
Thousands of feet of fire hose snaked its way along the street.
Because it was determined early on there was no way to save the building, or its contents, firefighters fought the blaze from the exterior and did not enter the building. Wainwright said this was for the safety of the firefighters. For hours a steady stream of water was doused on the building from the Yarmouth department’s aerial ladder while firefighters on the ground trained their hoses on the building from several vantage points.
Early this morning, flames from the fire could be seen shooting into the sky, towering over the building that was now a burning inferno. The heat coming from the blaze was intense.
Thick, black smoke blanketed the area, and parts of the downtown, for much of the morning. The smoke was even visible from many communities located within the Municipality of Yarmouth. While there wasn’t concern at the scene about the fire spreading to nearby buildings, there was concern over the smoke and air quality.
The Kaye Nickerson Adult Services Centre across the street from the building did not open Thursday morning.
The Tri-County Regional School Board dismissed students at 9:30 a.m. over concern of smoke being drawn into the school’s air handling system.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known. Wainwright said the fire marshal’s office will investigate the blaze. The fire marshal was expected to possibly arrive later today.
Nova Scotia Power was on the scene early Thursday morning but power was only cut to the building itself, again for the safety of firefighters, around 9:30 a.m. Firefighters were hoping to avoid a situation where a power outage would need to be more widespread as a power line was connected to a power substation. Having to turn off another line would have left a large segment of the town without power for hours.
Shortly before 10:30 a.m. an excavator began knocking down the walls so firefighters could train their hoses on the interior of the building. As the walls came down it revealed the charred destruction inside, including burnt up stoves, washers and dryers. The bucket from the excavator swept aside the burnt-up applicances like pieces of broken toys to give firefighters more access to lingering flames and hot spots.
This building was one of two that the W.L. Nelsons uses to store its furniture inventory beyond what it on the floor of its John Street location.
Firefighters were expected to remain on the scene well into the afternoon.
TINA CORMIER - THE VANGUARD