WINDSOR - An afternoon house fire that appears to have started in a garage has left a West Hants couple without a place to call home.
Firefighters from Windsor at the scene of a house fire on Tongue Hill in West Hants. Brooklyn and Hantsport were called in for mutual aid. PHOTO BY TC MEDIA
Windsor firefighters were called out to combat a structure fire Saturday, Feb. 15, on Tongue Hill Road around 12:45 p.m. When they arrived on scene, flames were coming through the garage doors.
“First report was smoke showing, then flame through the roof, so it was definitely going for a bit,” said Windsor Fire Chief Scott Burgess.
“Luckily there was no one home (and) the car was not in the yard.”
About two dozen Windsor firefighters attended the blaze, and an additional 10 or so remained at the station on standby.
Mutual aid was requested from Brooklyn and Hantsport fire departments. The RCMP provided traffic control and Nova Scotia Power arrived to cut the power to the home.
“We suppressed the fire before it entered the main part of the house. It just broke through,” said Burgess.
The fire chief said the home sustained “heavy damage” but could be salvaged. However, Burgess said, it might be cheaper to build anew.
“I'd be guessing unrepairable basing on the dollars of damage. Structurally, most of it is still intact.”
The couple, who were renting the home, did not have insurance.
Although the fire department is investigating the fire, Burgess said it doesn't appear to be suspicious.
Scott Caldwell, a veteran firefighter with the Windsor Fire Department, was one of the local residents who called 911. He said they initially thought the light smoke was from burning brush. But then he heard “a few pops and bangs,” which he said was likely the fire reaching something combustible, followed by dark plumes of smoke and fire.
“It just excelled the fire into a pretty big fire ball,” he said.
Caldwell helped direct traffic while the fire trucks arrived on scene.
“The main thing was to keep traffic flowing until the fire department got here and then I just tried to stop traffic down so they could have a safe work area,” Caldwell said.
“Once the fire department got here, they got on the fire right away.”
Burgess said traffic is one of the many challenges the fire department faces when heading out on a call.
“A big black column of smoke attracts a lot of people,” Burgess said, noting that getting in the way of fire trucks delays their response time.
“There are more apparatus that come into these scenes all the time. Please stay back, give the right of way, and let us do our job.”