Fire displaced an Upper New Cornwall resident after it ripped through and destroyed his single-storey home overlooking Church Lake.
First responders rushed to the home March 27 just after 1 p.m., after being told by dispatch a caller noted a lot of smoke in his home but didn't immediately see fire.
By the time the first of the volunteer firefighters arrived, flames had broken through the structure and it was fully engulfed.
"It had been going for some time," Cornwall and district volunteer fire department chief Michael Wilson told LighthouseNOW during a phone call. "Nobody knows how long it was burning.
The man - the only person who lived in the home - travelled outside Lunenburg County for a few hours, and returned home to find smoke pouring out from under the steel roof.
Five dozen volunteer emergency crews worked the scene. Firefighters from departments in Northfield district, Walden and New Germany assisted Cornwall personnel with trucks and manpower.
The home was too far gone for firefighters to try and smother the fire from the inside, Wilson said.
The lane leading to the home was narrow and made for some challenges in truck set-up and manoeuvring, but there were no unique challenges to extinguishing the blaze.
"Time was our only downfall; that nobody noticed it sooner," Wilson said.
Neither the resident, nor any first responders were hurt.
The Canadian Red Cross, an emergency social services charity, said the man was staying with relatives for the time being.
Red Cross volunteers helped "with emergency purchases like food and clothing while awaiting a damage assessment and further help through insurers," the organization said in a March 28 news release.
Some contents inside the home were recovered but the structure is a total loss, Wilson added.
"There's basically three sides left standing, and the front's completely gutted."
There is insurance coverage. Due to the damage involved, it may be impossible to pinpoint a specific cause, Wilson suggested, but there's no evidence indicating any criminality involved.
The fire started inside the home. "Most of the burning was in the area of the wood stove; that's where the biggest concentration of damage was," Wilson told LighthouseNOW.
No other structures or major assets were damaged as a result of the blaze.
Emergency crews cleared the scene about four hours after the time of the original alarm. However, the fire department was called back briefly the next morning, March 28, to extinguish a small pile that flared-up. Wilson said one truck responded and the crews stirred the area and doused the fire with foam.