Community devastated by White Point fire
Nova Scotians are reeling after a fire at White Point Beach Resort on the province's south shore destroyed the main building of the historic tourist attraction Saturday.
At the height of the fire, flames could be seen above the treeline from several kilometres away. Flames reportedly were as high as 15 metres.
The fire, which started at about 2:30 p.m., spread through the 83-year-old wooden structure and was fanned by high winds, RCMP Staff Sgt. Jeff Wells said. The flames quickly engulfed the main building, which housed the dining room, kitchen, guest rooms and a swimming pool.
The fire was still smouldering in spots Sunday morning, and it took crews from 10 different fire departments several hours to put out the blaze. Officials still don't know the cause of the fire.
MLA Vicki Conrad commended firefighters, staff and volunteers in a news release.
"The staff at White Point are to be commended for their dedication while this horrible fire was raging," Conrad said. "Firefighters fought the blaze with great effort, and volunteers pulled together to make sure everyone was safe and comforted."
The CBC's Michael Dick talked with a couple who had planned to get married at the resort but instead had to change their plans.
Nancy and Michael Rogers said it was a surreal experience.
The couple, who got engaged at the resort last year, said they wanted to get married at the location, even though their gifts, personal items and wedding flowers were lost in the fire. Instead, they were married on a hill near the resort.
"We would've gotten married on the side of the road if we had to," Nancy Rogers told CBC News Sunday.
"We keep teasing that our last weddings were picture perfect — things didn't go wrong — but the marriages didn't work out for us, so rocky wedding, fantastic marriage for us is the way we see it," said Rogers.
While many guests had to be evacuated, many were still able to stay at the resort in the cottages on the property.
Many say the loss of the resort, where Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter worked as a student, is a huge blow to the province's tourism industry.
The grim reality, said resort manager Danny Morton, is that layoffs are inevitable: There is no kitchen to staff, and servers at the restaurant no longer have guests to serve.
Morton said the resort has fire insurance.
"I can't put a cook in a kitchen that doesn't exist right now, so there's going to be an immediate effect to Liverpool and it's not going to be a positive effect, unfortunately. We just came out of a very busy weekend and we were looking forward to a busy Christmas season," Morton told CBC News Sunday.
"Hopefully coming into the future they're going to be back, that's what we're working towards. At our peak we hire 165 people in the area and just want to make sure we do that again, if not more."
"Our community is simply shocked," Conrad said. "We will work together to combat the economic loss this fire will have on our region.
"This is not the end of White Point," Morton said.
Raw video courtesy of Nicole Amirault, with files from Michael Dick