Fire crews report 'a number of explosions' at Harrietsfield garage fire

There were no injuries in a fire at an auto body repair shop in the Harrietsfield area of Halifax. A section of the Old Sambro Road has since reopened to traffic.

Old Sambro Road has since reopened to traffic

The building on Old Sambro Road was fully engulfed by flames when crews arrived. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

An auto body repair shop in the Harrietsfield area of Halifax is a total loss after a fire early Friday morning.

Halifax Regional Police and Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency were called to the fire at Harrietsfield Collision Services at around 2 a.m. There was no one in the building at the time and no injuries have been reported.

The Harrietsfield fire was the second Halifax-area fire in less than eight hours. Two firefighters were injured in a North Preston blaze Thursday evening after a stairwell collapsed. They were held overnight in hospital for observation.

Mike Blackburn, division commander for Halifax fire, said the Harrietsfield building was fully engulfed by flames when crews arrived. He said 55 firefighters responded.

About 55 firefighters with Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency responded to the Harrietsfield fire Friday morning. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Blackburn said fighting a fire at an auto body shop full of flammable chemicals brings its own set of challenges.

"Anything that's tagged auto body, you're always worried about any kind of accelerants, which there would be numerous," he said.

"We had a number of explosions throughout the night ... we're not even sure what they were but I would guess they would have been acetylene and oxygen and every kind of paint thinner or paint products you could think of."

The fire was so intense that fire crews had to cool down one of their own vehicles parked near the structure. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

He said the heat from the fire was so intense that fire crews had to cool down one of their own vehicles parked near the structure.

Neighbours near the scene say a home next to the business that was evacuated belonged to people who owned the garage. Luckily, fire crews were able to save the home.

Old Sambro Road was closed between Leiblin Drive  and Duggan Lane, however the road was reopened by early Friday afternoon.

It's too soon to know what caused the fire. The investigation is expected to begin later today.

Clarifications

  • A previous version of this story said Harrietsfield Auto Services burned. In fact, the fire was at Harrietsfield Collision Services.
    Apr 13, 2018 10:56 AM AT

With files from Sandy Smith, Paul Palmeter