By Jennifer Hoegg and Kirk Starratt
Seventy tenants of Kentville’s Cornwallis Developments were without heat for two days during this week's wintery weather.
Kentville firefighters were called to the Cornwallis Inn building around 10 p.m. on March 19 when a heating system component malfunctioned.
Second Deputy Chief Paul Jackson said a circulator motor on the heating system overheated, kicking off quite a bit of smoke. Firefighters evacuated and ventilated the building.
“Within an hour, everything was fine,” Jackson said.
Once the smoke cleared, however, there was no heat.
Owner Alex Filimon said in a March 22 interview the problem was with Nova Scotia Power.
“Nova Scotia Power had one of their transformers burned and that is what caused the issue as far as I know,” Filimon said. “That created a surge in the system that burned all the pumps and the elevator.”
Nova Scotia Power spokesman David Rhodenizer said their problem was not inside the building, but at the pole.
“The fire caused the power to shut off at the pole,” Rhodenizer said.
After fire crews had finished their work, he added, “the electricity was re-energized, a fuse blew out at the transformer. That’s what we had to fix.”
Filimon said his staff bought electric heaters for tenants and sent for heating parts from New Brunswick. Apartments in both the older inn portion of the building and the newer wing were affected, but heat was restored to tenants in the new apartments earlier. Residents of the older apartments had heat late March 21.
As of Friday morning, there was no elevator service in the Cornwallis Inn part of the building, which has a number of senior citizen tenants. The landlord could not say how they were making out without an elevator, which will be repaired when a necessary part arrives, he said.
“It isn’t a pleasant thing for any of us,” Filimon said. “It is what it is.”
New Minas firefighters provided mutual aid at the scene of the original fire call and the Waterville and District Fire Department provided stand-in assistance at the Kentville fire hall.