Fire rips through garage of West Hants home

UPDATED: Feb. 16

Carole Morris-Underhill editor@hantsjournal.ca
Published on February 15, 2014
Tongue Hill fire 1

Published on 15 February 2014

<p>Firefighter Brian Boyd turns on the water as the Windsor Fire Department battled a structure fire at a home on Tongue Hill Road Feb. 15. Also pictured is Kim Willins.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Tongue Hill fire 2

Published on 15 February 2014

<p>Captain Daniel Lavers smashes out windows as the Windsor Fire Department worked to save this home on Tongue Hill Road.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Tongue Hill fire 3

Published on 15 February 2014

<p>Windsor firefighters work to beat back the flames that were coming from this garage Feb. 15.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Tongue Hill fire 4

Published on 15 February 2014

<p>A Brooklyn firefighter hauls hose line. Both Brooklyn and Hantsport fire departments were called in for mutual aid Feb. 15 as Windsor battled a house fire on Tongue Hill Road.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Tongue Hill fire 5

Published on 15 February 2014

<p>Windsor and Brooklyn firefighters work together to extinguish a fire that caused considerable damage to a home on Tongue Hill Road Feb. 15.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Tongue Hill fire 6

Published on 15 February 2014

<p>Windsor Fire Chief Scott Burgess speaks with Cpt. Daniel Lavers about the fire Feb. 15 as fellow firefighters wait to head into the home.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Tongue Hill fire 7

Published on 15 February 2014

<p>Windsor and Brooklyn firefighters work together to extinguish a fire that caused considerable damage to a home on Tongue Hill Road Feb. 15.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Tongue Hill fire 8

Published on 15 February 2014

<p>New Windsor firefighter Brandon Doumichelle hauls more hose to the scene Feb. 15.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Tongue Hill fire 9

Published on 15 February 2014

<p>Safety officer&nbsp;Tony Smith and Capt. Ian Duey discuss the Feb. 15 fire as firefighters work to douse the remaining hot spots.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Tongue Hill fire 10

Published on 15 February 2014

<p>Hantsport firefighters provided mutual aid as Windsor battled a house fire on Tongue Hill Road Feb. 15.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Tongue Hill fire 11

Published on 15 February 2014

<p>Windsor firefighters work to douse the remaining hot spots in the garage of this Tongue Hill Road residence Feb. 15.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Tongue Hill fire 12

Published on 15 February 2014

<p>Captain Daniel Lavers and Windsor Fire Chief Scott Burgess stand near the smouldering remains of a garage Feb. 15. About 24 Windsor firefighters attended the early afternoon call, as well as about a dozen from Brooklyn and Hantsport.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Tongue Hill fire 13

Published on 15 February 2014

<p>Driver Chris Sullivan checks the gauges on the pump panel of the fire truck for the different hose lines Feb. 15 as firefighters work to extinguish a blaze on Tongue Hill Road.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

Tongue Hill fire 14

Published on 15 February 2014

<p>Fire Chief Scott Burgess and Deputy Fire Chief Jamie Juteau talk in the driveway of a home severely damaged by fire Feb. 15.</p>

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill

An afternoon house fire that appears to have started in a garage has left a West Hants couple with two small children without a place to call home.

Windsor firefighters were called out to combat a structure fire Saturday, Feb. 15, on Tonge Hill Road around 12:45 p.m. When they arrived on scene, flames were coming through the garage doors.

“First report was smoke showing, then flame through the roof, so it was definitely going for a bit,” said Windsor Fire Chief Scott Burgess.

“Luckily there was no one home (and) the car was not in the yard.”

About two dozen Windsor firefighters attended the blaze, and an additional 10 or so remained at the station on standby.

Mutual aid was requested from Brooklyn and Hantsport fire departments. The RCMP provided traffic control and Nova Scotia Power arrived to cut the power to the home.

“We suppressed the fire before it entered the main part of the house. It just broke through,” said Burgess.

The fire chief said the home sustained “heavy damage” but could be salvaged. However, Burgess said, it might be cheaper to build anew.

“I'd be guessing unrepairable based on the dollars of damage. Structurally, most of it is still intact.”

The couple, who were renting the home, did not have insurance.

According to the Red Cross, the couple, and their children – a 20-month-old boy and a seven-year-old boy – are staying with relatives, and are receiving help from the organization as the family lost most of their belongings.

Although the fire department is investigating the fire, Burgess said it doesn't appear to be suspicious.

Scott Caldwell, a veteran firefighter with the Windsor Fire Department, was one of the local residents who called 911. He said they initially thought the light smoke was from burning brush. But then he heard “a few pops and bangs,” which he said was likely the fire reaching something combustible, followed by dark plumes of smoke and fire.

“It just excelled the fire into a pretty big fire ball,” he said.

Caldwell helped direct traffic while the fire trucks arrived on scene.

“The main thing was to keep traffic flowing until the fire department got here and then I just tried to stop traffic down so they could have a safe work area,” Caldwell said.

“Once the fire department got here, they got on the fire right away.”

Burgess said traffic is one of the many challenges the fire department faces when heading out on a call.

“A big black column of smoke attracts a lot of people,” Burgess said, noting that getting in the way of fire trucks delays their response time.

“There are more apparatus that come into these scenes all the time. Please stay back, give the right of way, and let us do our job.”