2018-11-07

Firefighters respond to electrical fire in Lunenburg

by Gayle Wilson

  • <p>CONTRIBUTED PHOTO</p><p>An electrical fire on a boat on Burma Road drew volunteers from the Lunenburg and District Fire Department and five other fire-fighting units.</p>

An electrical fire caused when a boat near the Lunenburg Foundry on Burma Road touched the power lines drew fire fighters from six departments and prompted Nova Scotia Power to shut off the line, affecting homes from that area through to Blue Rocks the evening of November 3.

The line going from the mast to the bow of a sailboat, which was on a cradle, came into contact with a power line in the prevailing high winds.

It started arcing and then fused to the electrical line causing it to catch the boat on fire, according to the deputy chief for the Lunenburg and District Fire Department, Dave Robb.

"It was quite a dangerous scene," says Robb, noting his department got a call to deal with the situation just after 7 p.m.

"Basically when we arrived there was a tremendous amount of arcing, a lot of electrical activity going on down there. And of course the boat ignited and caught fire, as electricity was coursing through (it)."

The fire fighters set up a safety perimeter because the ground around the boat was electrified as well.

Volunteers from the fire departments in Blockhouse, Mahone Bay, Dayspring, Riverport and Bridgewater responded to the emergency.

Robb said they were battling "extremely strong winds," and there was concern sparks would catch other boats on fire.

Moreover, while it was being energized, "we had huge concerns on exposures."

"It necessitated shutting down the industrial line that runs down Montague and all the way to Blue Rocks. So we had to isolate the power heading down on that grid," said Robb.

Once the firefighters had cordoned off the area and the power was off, they were able to go in and extinguish the fire on the boat, and eventually get Nova Scotia Power to go back into the sub-station and turn the grid back on.

They also worked to mitigate any environmental concerns by setting up booms in the harbour in case of leakage from the boat, according to Robb.

"We had made sure that there wasn't harbour contamination."

The whole incident lasted about four and a half hours.

As for the fate of the boat, Lunenburg's deputy chief said he wasn't sure, but he speculated it's possible it will be a "100 per cent write-off."

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