Nova Scotia

Former fish plant in Big Bras d'Or destroyed by fire

Three people escaped unharmed when a large privately owned building on the waterfront in Big Bras d'Or, N.S., caught fire and burned to the ground on Monday.

Building owned by local fisherman a total loss, but three people inside escape uninjured

A fire completely destroyed a former fish plant in Big Bras d'Or, N.S., on Monday. (Chris Law)

Three people escaped unharmed when a large privately owned building on the waterfront in Big Bras d'Or, N.S., caught fire and burned to the ground on Monday.

Local fire Chief Wayne Jardine and three volunteer firefighters happened to be at the fire station when the call came in at 9:30 a.m.

They got to the scene in about five minutes, said the chief, who noted the building on fire used to be a fish plant.

"You could see the black smoke just pouring out," he said. "Terrific heat," he added. He said the steel roof caved in shortly after he arrived.

It took the local team, along with volunteers from the Southside Boularderie and Ross Ferry fire departments, eight hours to put out the fire.

No one was injured.

Firefighters battle the blaze at the former fish plant. (Chris Law)

Jardine said the three men who were in the building were renovating an 8.5-metre boat when the fire broke out.  

"They were fibreglassing at the time," he said, adding there were a number of flammable materials in the area, including resin, plastics, propane, various oils and gasoline.

"One fella said that they were doing some grinding. It only takes a spark in situations like that. And it can get out of hand in a hurry," said Jardine, who believes the fire was accidental.

The chief said it's fortunate firefighters were able to keep the flames from spreading since the fishing wharf, where many boats are tied up, is close by. There's also a large diesel tank on the property used for fueling the vessels.

Jardine said the worst aspect of the fire was the loss suffered by the owner, local fisherman Paul Henderson, who watched his boat, his building and all its contents go up in smoke.

The building was not insured, he said.

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