Firefighters battle freezing conditions as fire ravages apartment complex
KENTVILLE (CP) — Four families lost everything but their lives Saturday when fire ripped through their apartment building.
The blaze destroyed the century-old River Street home that had been converted into apartments.
Flames were shooting out of the roof when firefighters arrived on the scene at 4 a.m., said Kentville Fire Chief Shawn Ripley.
It took firefighters five hours to bring the fire under control.
“Because of the cold temperatures and high winds, everything that could go wrong went wrong,” Ripley said.
Water had to be trucked to the scene because nearby fire hydrants were frozen. The subzero temperatures caused fire hoses and pumps to freeze.
The bitter cold also took its toll on the firefighters battling the blaze.
The fire burned off part of the building’s roof and gutted the second and third floors. The first floor received severe smoke and water damage.
Despite the destruction, “we saved two cats and two birds in cages,” Ripley said.
Red Cross volunteers, working with municipal emergency management officials, established a comfort centre at a nearby community centre where the tenants could wait and stay out of the cold.
The Red Cross also arranged emergency motel accommodations for one couple and provided assistance to a second couple who chose to stay with friends.
The fire chief said the owner of the building had vacant apartments that he made available to the other tenants.
None of the tenants had insurance, but the fire chief said he believed the building’s owner did.