Blaze destroys East Chester home

by Keith Corcoran

No one was hurt but a single-storey detached home in East Chester was reduced to rubble in a hurry as a result of a fast-moving blaze aided by the fire hazards of modern light-weight construction methods, said Chester's assistant deputy fire chief.

"Within minutes it went from a fire we could have caught, to a fire that was just gone," Greg Conron told LighthouseNOW, describing the inferno that erupted June 28 off Ten-Penny Lane.

Chester volunteer firefighters were dispatched at 7:30 p.m.

One section of the structure was on fire when Conron arrived at the home near Squid Cove Road. The fire spread to the rafters and roof.

Flames then quickly wrapped around the attic space "and by the time we had managed to pull lines off [the fire truck] and get water on it, the roof was in the process of collapsing." Conron said.

While the construction method that meets the proper codes makes houses strong under normal conditions, once fire is introduced flames can rapidly weaken aspects of such-built structures and burn a building fast.

Conron said the fire service, in general, has called for changes and he feels property owners continue to take a risk by adopting such construction methods that can mean someone has less than five minutes to escape between the time a fire's ignited to when a home is untenable.

The Ten-Penny Lane home was just five years old.

The cause of the fire is classified as undetermined. The home is insured.

The couple and their three children who lived there were offered a nearby cottage for temporary accommodation, said the Canadian Red Cross, an emergency social services charity.

"They've been assisted by Canadian Red Cross volunteers from Bridgewater with emergency purchases like food and clothing," the agency said in a statement.

Conron said some items of sentimental value to home ownership were salvaged from the basement.

Chester, along with volunteer fire departments from Chester Basin, Western Shore, Hubbards, Blandford, and Martins River, were called in for additional manpower and tankers supplying water to extinguish the blaze.

Emergency crews remained at the scene until about 3 a.m. June 29.

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