Nova Scotia

Halifax fire chases tenants out twice

A stubborn fire in Halifax has left at least 12 people homeless and a convenience store in ruins.
A firefighter hacks into the wall to get at the blaze inside the property on Gottingen Street in Halifax. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

A stubborn fire in Halifax has left at least 12 people homeless and a convenience store in ruins.

The fire on Gottingen Street broke out Thursday afternoon but flared up again at about 3 a.m. Friday.

Leah Russell and her family were asleep when neighbour Shannon O'Connell banged on the door. It was the second escape in 12 hours.

O'Connell grabbed a blanket and carried Russell's 20-month-old daughter to safety.

"The fire and smoke and stuff was just coming over my head," said O'Connell. "I just covered her face with the blanket."

While anxious tenants sat with neighbours, firefighters cut holes in the roof and walls of their building to get at the blaze raging below.

The owner of Israel Convenience Store said there was more than a foot of water inside his business, the CBC's Craig Paisley reported.

Paisley said firefighters salvaged about $20,000 worth of cigarettes from the store and took baby photos off a wall in one of the apartments.

Gerald Cross, who lives nearby, said the loss of the building will hurt the area.

"It's kind of a tight-knit little community. Everybody is familiar with one another and the store on the corner was kind of a meeting place," he said.

First call on Thursday

Firefighters were first called to the building at 4 p.m. Thursday.

The building was evacuated, but some tenants, like Russell and her family, were allowed back in later.

There were no reports of injuries.

There were 30 firefighters and seven trucks at the scene at one point early Friday. Gottingen Street was closed between Almon and Russell streets to allow the crews to work.

There was no word on what caused the fire.

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