Nova Scotia

Fire rips through buildings on Pictou waterfront

Fire ripped through the Pictou waterfront late Thursday night as two businesses were destroyed and a neighbouring seniors' complex evacuated.

At least 19 people were evacuated from a seniors' complex

Several fire departments responded to a fire that destroyed two businesses and forced a seniors' residence to be evacuated. (Submitted by Brian Cameron)

Fire ripped through the Pictou waterfront late Thursday night as two businesses were destroyed and a neighbouring seniors' complex evacuated.

Fire crews were called to the fire around 10 p.m. The call was about a laundromat that was on fire and quickly spreading to an Enviro-Depot.

Smoke from the blaze was so bad the Coleraine Plaza seniors complex across the street was emptied.

The electricity was shut off in the area due to propane tanks outside the laundromat and potentially flammable products at the recycling depot. There were also concerns about heavy smoke from the blaze.

At least 19 residents were evacuated from a nearby seniors' home. (Submitted by Brian Cameron)
 

Fire departments from Pictou and other neighbouring communities responded to the blaze including an aerial ladder truck from New Glasgow.

The structure was a wooden building about 100 years old that had been renovated numerous times.

'A stubborn fire'

Paul Janes, chief of the Pictou Fire Department, said high winds created problems.

Firefighters could only fight it from three sides with the property on the waterfront. One large sailboat was saved, but a speed boat was damaged by flying embers.

"It was a stubborn fire due to the size of the building and the age of the building and all the restructuring that had been done it over the last hundred years," he said. 

"On the front of the building there were large propane cylinders and with the wind driven fire we had a big concern with that. Pieces of the actual structure, because of the winds, were flying in some cases two streets up and we ended up putting out spot fires in yards."

Fire chief Paul Janes said it was "a stubborn fire." (Submitted by Brian Cameron)

Janes said firefighters had to use an excavator to rip the building open to assist with the fire.

Hot spots flared up early this morning and firefighters had to go back.

Crews were finally removed from the scene at about 9:25 a.m.

Red Cross volunteers from New Glasgow arranged emergency lodging for two men and one woman from the seniors' building. Others went to the homes of friends and family in the Pictou County area.

The evacuees are expected to be able to return to their building some time on Friday.

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