Nova Scotia

Arson suspect arrested after 'intense' Spryfield fire forces tenants to flee

A four-storey apartment building was vacated Thursday morning after a fire broke out in the Spryfield-area apartment.

35-year-old man held after police find reason to believe 'fire had been deliberately set'

Firefighters examine the damage from the inside Thursday morning. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Halifax police have arrested a man for arson in connection with a fire in Spryfield, N.S., that forced tenants to flee a four-storey apartment building on Thursday morning.

"Information provided to police and fire investigators has led them to believe the fire had been deliberately set," Const. John MacLeod said in a press release Thursday afternoon.

Police arrested the 35-year-old man at 9:15 a.m. on Robie Street in Halifax. 

Matthew Landry, who lives on the first floor of the Spencer Avenue apartment, said he was woken up by the building's fire alarm.

"All the hallway was full of smoke and I saw flames shooting out buddy's door across the hall where the fire was," he said. "It scared the daylights out of me."

Two residents climbed down a ladder to escape the building.

Halifax Fire and Halifax Regional Police responded to a fire in Spryfield Thursday morning. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Jordan Hobin lives next door to the apartment where the fire broke out. He said he also tried to put out the fire.

"We had the door open and me and another guy were trying to fight the fire with extinguishers but it was just too bad; we couldn't see and couldn't get to it," he said.

"We went around the back and tried to put it out with the extinguishers through the window, but it was just too intense."

Dave Slaunwhite, the district chief for Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency, said the call came at 7:44 a.m. He said two people were taken out of the third floor and treated by EHS for minor injuries.

"When the first crews arrived we had heavy fire coming out of the first and second floor," he said. "The crews did a great job in knocking that fire down quickly."

In an email, a city spokesperson said traffic on Spencer Avenue and Lewis Street was blocked to the public and advised that people avoid the area.

All residents safely escaped the fire. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)