Nova Scotia

HMCS Toronto fire that sent 2 to hospital caused by power tool battery

Irving Shipbuilding says a fire on HMCS Toronto saw two people sent to hospital on Thursday night as a precaution.

Frigate undergoing repairs at Irving-owned Halifax Shipyard

There was a small fire on HMCS Toronto Thursday night, but it took a lot of firefighters to put it out due to the complicated nature of fighting a fire on a ship. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Irving Shipbuilding says a fire on HMCS Toronto that saw two people sent to hospital on Thursday night was caused by the battery of a portable power tool.

Firefighters was called to the Halifax Shipyard — where the frigate is undergoing an upgrade — at 10:17 p.m., as crews from the dockyard were already trying to get the fire under control.

Mary Keith, a spokesperson for Irving Shipbuilding, said 64 people — 48 shipyard employees and 16 contractors — were working on board the vessel at the time.

The vessel was safety evacuated and two employees were sent to the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre as a precaution, she said. They were released from hospital before midnight.

"The ship was cleared for return to normal operations this morning," Keith wrote in an email to CBC News.
Brad Connors, a division commander with Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency, said the fire was small but fighting it was complicated.

"The nature of ship fires in general, whether they're in the dockyard or in the water, it takes a lot of resources and a lot of support to actually get a crew inside the vessel and fight the fire and get it extinguished," he said. 

"We would have had 18 [firefighters] and I'm sure the dockyard probably had another seven or eight as well, so probably upwards of 25 to 28 people total."

It's not clear how much damage the fire caused.