Nova Scotia

Fire forces N.S. family from home

A family of four escaped unharmed after a fire extensively damaged their home about 30 km. southwest of New Glasgow that started just before midnight Tuesday.

A family of four escaped unharmed after a fire extensively damaged their home about 30 km southwest of New Glasgow Tuesday evening.

The family was renting a house on a rural road near West River Station.

"It was stubborn to get out, they had to put some foam up in there and kind of drown it out," said Dennis Harnish, chief  of the West River Fire Department.

A couple and their two children were home when the fire broke out, they told CBC News they heard a noise upstairs, which they thought was the family pet. When they went up to look, they saw the fire.

They called 911 and escaped to a relative's home down the street.

"The Canadian Red Cross was out yesterday and again today talking to them, they're going to set them up with some stuff, not sure what yet," Harnish said. "They were emotional last night, understandable."

The worst of the damage is confined to upstairs, destroying most of the couple's possessions in the master bedroom.

However, Harnish said he believes the home can be repaired.

"Sad for the family, no time is good for a fire, especially around Christmas," said Harnish.   A Pictou County fire marshall spent most of the day at the scene.

While the exact cause of the fire hasn't been determined, Harnish said he thinks it may have been an improperly installed chimney flue.

For now the family is waiting to find out if insurance will cover their destroyed belongings.

The couple and their two children, ages 12 and 14, will be staying with a relative.

The blaze at 164 Montreal Road, reported around midnight Tuesday, appeared to have started in a second-storey bedroom, fire officials said.