Nova Scotia

Rash of suspicious fires in south end Halifax 'very disturbing:' division chief

A fire official in Halifax says he is concerned by the frequency of suspicious fires in Halifax's south end. Over the last 22 months, there have been 11 fire calls to apartment buildings in the area of Victoria Road, Inglis Street and Queen Street. 

Police say there is no evidence to suggest fires are linked

A condo unit on Inglis Street in Halifax was heavily damaged by fire in May 2018. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

A fire official in Halifax says he is concerned by the frequency of suspicious fires in the city's south end.

Over the last 22 months, there have been 11 fire calls to apartment buildings in the area of Victoria Road, Inglis Street and Queen Street. 

Four of the fires were at Joseph Howe Manor, a ten-storey seniors complex with 174 units.

"There is definitely cause for concern. It is very disturbing," said Matt Covey, division chief of fire prevention for Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency.

"These are residential dwellings and the fires are happening at times when people would typically be home."

Several fires are being investigated by Halifax police, but there is no evidence to suggest the incidents are linked.

Halifax police have investigated four fires over the last 12 months at Joseph Howe Manor. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Some of the fire calls have been deemed suspicious, while others are being investigated as arson.

A fire at Joseph Howe Manor on Jan. 1 was deemed arson by investigators.

On Dec. 12, there was a fire in the laundry room of the same building. An investigation determined the source of the blaze was matches and the cause was classified as "incendiary".

The big fear is one of these small fires could turn into a catastrophic event.

That was the case in May 2018, when a fire broke out at a condo building on Inglis Street. The building was heavily damaged, but there were no injuries.

The condo building on Inglis Street was heavily damaged in the May 2018 fire, but no one was injured. (Submitted by Sheldon McFadyen)

An investigation showed the cause of that fire was also "incendiary".

That same night, a fire in a green bin was reported just a few blocks away.

"So far, there have been no injuries, but we're still on high alert," said Covey. "We certainly can't ignore the frequency. Many of them are incendiary."

Firefighters answered another call on Victoria Road last week at Southpoint Apartments, a ten-storey building with 700 residents.

A planter caught fire just outside the main entrance. An investigation into that fire showed it was sparked by a cigarette butt.

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