Nfld. & Labrador

Firefighters battle blaze at Cottles Island Lumber near Summerford

Summerford's fire chief has stopped short of calling three fires in Newfoundland's Notre Dame Bay suspicious, but admits a fire Wednesday at a lumber yard is cause for concern.

'Kinda makes you wonder what's going on down here'

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      Summerford's fire chief has stopped short of calling three fires in Newfoundland's Notre Dame Bay suspicious, but admits a fire Wednesday at a lumber yard is cause for concern.

      Fire crews from Twillingate and Summerford — including three pumper trucks and two dozen firefighters — were still at Cottles Island Lumber's main warehouse late Wednesday morning. They arrived around 2 a.m.

      "I hate to speculate but right now it really stinks," says Summerford Fire Chief Terry Hann, when asked about recent fires in the area. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

      By the time firefighters reached the burning warehouse after being alerted by a passing motorist, it was entirely engulfed, said fire chief Terry Hann.

      The warehouse contains the operation's lumber and boiler, making the fire tougher to fight.

      "A large portion of the property was still intact but obviously a major part of their operation is destroyed," Hann said.

      While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, Hann told CBC News it is the third such fire in the area in the last few weeks. 

      "It's all becoming quite alarming," Hann said. "Very worrisome for the community for sure."

      "I hate to speculate but right now it really stinks."

      The Breakwater Fisheries plant in Cottlesville was destroyed by fire in late March, displacing more than 100 workers.

      "This is another major fire in our area," he said. "Kinda makes you wonder what's going on down here."

      Hann said due to the nature of the lumber in the building, the fire was a challenge for responders.

      "With lumber that's stacked that's being kiln dried it's just a tinder box and it went up extremely fast," he said. "Very difficult to fight because you can't really get at it with water very well."

      He added that despite the challenges, the firefighters continue to battle the blaze.

      CBC News spoke briefly with owner Rex Philpott, who was watching the fire from his nearby office. 

      No injuries have been reported. 

      According to the RCMP, a representative from the fire commissioner's office was en route to assist with the investigation.