Nova Scotia

Owner of Annapolis Valley landfill offers $10K reward for tips after fire

An underground fire at a construction garbage waste site near Bridgetown, N.S., is out and the landfill's owner is now looking for information on how it started.

About 70 firefighters spent 12 hours extinguishing hot spots at Arlington Heights C&D Landfill

A fire is out at Arlington Heights C and D Landfill, near Bridgetown, N.S., that took 70 firefighters from eight departments, plus heavy machinery, a full day to extinguish. (Submitted by Jennifer Ehrenfeld-Poole )

An underground fire at a construction and demolition waste site near Bridgetown, N.S., has been extinguished and the site's owner is offering a $10,000 reward for information about how it started. 

Arlington Heights C&D Landfill's owner Jennifer Ehrenfeld-Poole speculates the fire, which started burning around 7 a.m. Friday, was intentionally set.

About 70 firefighters from eight departments put in a massive effort to control the blaze, Port Lorne volunteer fire Chief Stephen Wade said.

Crews dug up smouldering construction and demolition debris, smothered it with water, and moved it into piles.

They had to unearth an area as long as a hockey rink and twice as wide — an area spanning 45 metres by 60 metres and about eight metres deep. 

On Sunday, Wade said the fire appeared to be out, with a few leftover smoking spots dealt with by staff at the landfill.

"I'm going back out there this afternoon to check on it."

He could not say what caused the fire and that there could be a number of factors, including spontaneous combustion because of the combination of chemicals that sometimes are found in landfills.

But Ehrenfeld-Poole remains very suspicious that the fire was deliberately set.

The experience has left her "pretty disgusted and disheartened. It could've been potentially disastrous," she said, citing the combination of dry weather, dry lumber and other materials in the landfill. 

Jennifer Ehrenfeld-Poole believes the fire at her business, Arlington Heights C and D Landfill, near Bridgetown, N.S., was deliberate. (Submitted by Jennifer Ehrenfeld-Poole )

Ehrenfeld-Poole is offering a cash reward for tips related to sightings at the property late Thursday or early Friday morning.

"To have any vandalism continue, it just needs to be stopped," she said Saturday as she surveyed the cleanup work at the landfill.

Ehrenfeld-Poole said she reported her suspicions to police and provided RCMP with surveillance video.

RCMP confirm they are investigating the fire. There has been no word yet on the results of the investigation.

Landfill continues to operate

Ehrenfeld-Poole said she has received complaints about asbestos, noise and trucks in the past.

She said she has industrial approval to handle the asbestos on the property. It's kept in a separate facility and was not in the vicinity of the fire, she said.

The landfill continues to operate and the fire only affected one-tenth of the site, said Ehrenfeld-Poole. She said she's grateful for the efforts of firefighters and the community who offered support.

Staff are now monitoring the landfill site around the clock, she said.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Chiu is a reporter in Nova Scotia and hosts Atlantic Tonight on Saturdays at 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m. in Newfoundland. If you have a story idea for her, contact her at elizabeth.chiu@cbc.ca.