Nova Scotia

Kings County disposal site fire: 20 charges laid against operator

A total of 20 charges have been laid against the operator of a Kings County, N.S., construction and demolition site, after a massive fire in late March.

Environment Canada issued air quality warning after fire broke out

It took a five-day battle to control the blaze at the dump pile near Magee Lake, about 10 kilometres southwest of Kentville. (David Williamson)

A total of 20 charges have been laid against the operator of a Kings County, N.S., construction and demolition site, after a massive fire in late March.

The charges have been filed against Shaffer Enterprises and a numbered company, both operated by Derrick Shaffer, at the dump in Kentville.

Those charges include 13 violations under the Environment Act, and another violation that falls under air quality regulations. There are six charges that "went to a numbered company that dealt with the transfer station under the Environment Act," said Environment Minister Margaret Miller.

The charges relate to a fire that broke out at the facility near Kentville on March 22, prompting Environment Canada to issue an air quality warning for Kings County.

Thick black smoke billowed from the fire for almost four days. It was a major effort for fire crews to keep water on the smouldering pile of debris.

It also sparked environment officials to look at how other construction and debris facilities were operating.

A total of 20 charges have been laid. (CBC)

Environment Minister Margaret Miller said there are terms and conditions on every approved operator to ensure they are "doing the best job they possibly can do to safeguard against things like fires."

The fire prompted government to look closer at similar operations, she said.

"One thing we really identified from this, where we had been dealing with this operation for a long time, was the need to go look at other facilities," said Miller.

"We saw some operators who were doing a really good job but we saw some other ones who weren't doing it so well, and there were some changes made in some of those facilities."

Shaffer has been given two court dates, Aug. 8 and 29, in Kentville provincial court.