Red Cross assists home dwellers displaced by fire


The Canadian Red Cross has been stepping in and helping residents who have been displaced by fires recently.

The emergency social services charity reported it assisted a man today whose home near Bayport was damaged by fire.

The organization also assisted two adults and an adult and two teens after their duplex accommodations in Bridgewater were destroyed by fire Christmas Eve.

Of the Bayport resident, the organization said in a news release, "He plans to stay with a relative for now and is being helped by Canadian Red Cross volunteers from Bridgewater with emergency purchases like food and clothing."

The Red Cross reported there were no injuries from the fire about 25 kilometres southeast of Bridgewater on Highway 332, which was called in around 7:30 a.m. Jan. 11.

Investigators looking into Christmas Eve blaze

Meanwhile, samples of burned remnants of the west side Bridgewater property fire that displaced two families Christmas Eve have been sent for analysis as investigators work to determine the cause of the blaze.

When lab results from the wood specimens extracted from outside the home are known in several months, a typical turnaround time for fires that did not result in serious injury or death, investigators will determine next steps, Bridgewater's deputy police chief Danny MacPhee told LighthouseNOW.

MacPhee said it is believed the fire started outside the South Street duplex.

Town volunteer firefighters were sent to the duplex after a tenant there noticed the blaze and alerted the occupants inside to get out, Bridgewater fire chief Michael Nauss told LighthouseNOW. "They heard a strange sound and looked out the window and saw the fire," he said.

Emergency crews received an alarm around 3:15 a.m. telling them a porch was on fire. Nauss lives near the area and was on site quickly. "All the occupants were home and they got out before I got there," the fire chief explained. "The front of the building was on fire when I arrived."

Two adults living on one side of the duplex and an adult and two teens in the other dwelling were helped by the Red Cross with food and clothing purchases and temporary lodging. Three nearby homes occupied by a total of about six people were temporarily evacuated as first responders worked the scene.

Nauss said the fire swept into the duplex and wrapped around the roofline. Crews hit the structure with water from all sides but eventually needed heavy equipment to aid in extinguishment. "The building is a total loss," Nauss said. No other property was damaged.

Nearly 60 firefighters, including crews from Hebbville and Northfield district, and a half dozen trucks worked the incident. The town has a hydrant system it uses for water supply.

Bone-chilling cold accompanied by brisk winds made for challenges. Ice-covered surfaces caused a Hebbville firefighter to fall and lose his grip on a hose nozzle. The nozzle, Nauss said, struck his helmet. The man was assessed by paramedics. Earlier in the incident, a Bridgewater firefighter sustained smoke inhalation and was taken to hospital and later released, the fire chief said.

There were no other injuries.

Information provided by Environment Canada showed wind speeds that night at around 30 km/h with wind chill temperatures measuring in the vicinity of -18 degrees C.

The fire department completed its portion of the investigation and the province's Office of the Fire Marshal confirmed its immediate findings, agency spokeswoman Krista Higdon told LighthouseNOW, classifying the cause as "undetermined."

The building owner and tenants are believed to have insurance, Nauss said.

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