A small geographic area north of New Ross marked by past tragic events experienced more loss when an empty two-storey home went up in flames in a blaze for which investigators can't pinpoint a cause.
New Ross volunteer firefighters were dispatched just after 3 a.m., March 13, after someone on a hilltop property in Aldersville noticed light in the distance to the south, figuring a pasture or utility pole transformer was ablaze.
The community's fire chief, Lyle Russell, was quickly met with "a big orange ball of fire" as he got closer to the Highway 12 scene.
"The structure was still standing, but everything was on fire."
Flames were everywhere and the roof was collapsing, he told LighthouseNOW in a telephone interview. The fire was also spreading to grass around the home and toward a small garage nearby.
No one had lived in the run-down empty home for many years.
Russell summoned help from volunteer firefighters in Kentville and New Minas, who provided extra manpower, and tankers for water supply as Aldersville does not have hydrant system. Chester Basin crews were requested to stand-by at New Ross's station.
Emergency crews worked to protect the garage, and put out the flames near it, and ran larger water hose lines to knock down and smother the house fire. Firefighters extinguished the flames from outside the home given interior work was out-of-the-question because of the hazardous circumstances.
Russell estimates 30 firefighters worked the scene. Six trucks, including four tankers, were used.
Paramedics were present for medical stand-by. The RCMP were also notified.
No one was hurt.
The home did not have an electricity connection and is not believed to be insured.
Russell said the cause of the fire is classified as undetermined. "There was no evidence there for me or even the Mounties to say it was otherwise," he said.
The impacted property is about 40 hectares in size, including an open field. The property has a market assessment value of $53,700.
Motor vehicle traffic on Highway 12 was reduced to one lane in the area while emergency crews worked the fire call. Crews cleared from the alarm at about 6:30 a.m.
Within metres of the home, a man and woman lost their lives in separate, unrelated traffic accidents over the years.
A 71-year-old Kentville woman died in a crash there in November 2019, and an Aldersville man, 51, was killed in a motorcycle accident in April 2013.