2020-09-30

Provincial fire marshal’s office can’t determine cause of Newburne blaze

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>SUBMITTED PHOTO</p><p>Volunteer firefighters were summoned to this Lunenburg County home for a blaze that started in the basement.</p>

The cause of a September 20 blaze that started inside a bungalow northeast of New Germany is classified as undetermined, a spokeswoman for the province's Office of the Fire Marshal says.

Emergency crews were sent to a Newburne Road home in Newburne just before the supper-hour where smoke was reported to be coming from the basement.

Volunteer firefighters determined the incident involved more than a smoke condition and requested additional expertise.

"We turned it over to the fire marshal; we couldn't find any obvious sources of ignition in our investigation," Michael Wilson, chief of Cornwall and District Fire Department, told LighthouseNOW.

Krista Higdon, a spokeswoman for the fire marshals' office, confirmed the investigation is finished with an undetermined cause. "The fire was found to have originated in a basement storage closet," she told LighthouseNOW.

The property owners were renting the home and cleaning it in preparation for a new tenant. The cleaning process had taken hours, Wilson indicated, and the people on site left the property for an hour but turned up the heat before departing. Upon returning, they noticed smoke coming from the basement, Wilson said.

"There was a pipe burst, and the steam from that must have extinguished the fire," the chief explained to LighthouseNOW.

The fire extended into an upstairs bathroom from the closet, and further up into the attic space.

"It was confined to those three areas," Wilson explained, noting most of the damage was centred around the closet, basement ceiling, along with the main floor bathroom and area above it.

"There's damage to the floor joists, and the rafters, so it's smoke and water damage as well," Wilson noted. "We had to put water through the attic."

"Internally, it's fairly extensive; the external structure, there's no damage."

No one was hurt. The home is insured.

The Walden volunteer fire department provided assistance to Cornwall crews. New Germany volunteer firefighters were summoned later for their system that refills cylinders frontline responders use on their backs when breathable air is needed to worked in hazardous conditions.

"There were two ponds there, so we had lots of water supply, plus we had Walden's two tankers and our pumper-tanker," Wilson added.

First responders remained on scene until about 10 p.m.

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