Nfld. & Labrador

Mayhem of Kenmount Terrace fire still hard to forget, resident says

One resident recalls the chaos of the day when a forest fire came much too close to home.

‘I came out to a cop banging on my door'

A fire in July 2018 came right to the edge of Kenmount Terrace in St. John's. (Vanessa Hicks)

It's been a full year since a forest fire in the Kenmount Road area filled the skies over St. John's with black, gritty smoke and sent homeowners and residents scurrying for cover. 

The cause of the fire in the Kenmount Terrace subdivision remains unknown, but memories are still frighteningly fresh for residents like Allison Rose. 

"I was very scared," said Rose, describing how she drove home to find her neighbourhood filling with smoke.

"People [were] running around crazy, yelling to each other. There were cops banging on doors — I ran inside just to turn off our air conditioning unit — and I came out to a cop banging on our door and a neighbour saying, 'You have to get out of here right now.'" 

Tuesday marked one year since fire ripped through woods near Kenmount Terrace, a fairly new residential neighbourhood that was carved out of a once-wooded area off Kenmount Road.   

Drone footage captured by Joe Dawson just how close the Kenmount Terrace fire came to nearby homes. 

The incident was a potent reminder of the power of forest fires, particularly in neighbourhoods that are buffered by wilderness. 

Flames from the fire came right up to the edge of streetscape. While nobody lost their homes, 11 houses sustained scorching damage to siding and patios.

'I just get chills'

Whenever Rose sees footage of the fire, her memories take her back to that hectic day.

Allison Rose came home to firefighters evacuating her neighbourhood last year. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

"We have video footage from our security doorbell and every time I watch it I just get chills. It's very upsetting," she said. 

"Even though we didn't have any property damage it was still extremely scary that you could lose everything. Or if it happened in the middle of the night — who would've gotten hurt?"

Despite this, Rose says she's never considered leaving Kenmount Terrace behind.

"Not at all. I don't feel any less safe," she said.

"It's just kind of a reminder that you're not immune from anything, really."

The community at Kenmount Terrace, one year after the nearby forest fire. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

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