structure fire

Fire crews battle silo fire at Mount Pearl feed mill

Firefighters with St. John’s Regional Fire Department (SJRFD) spent close to ten hours at the scene of a late-night fire in Mount Pearl.

The call came from a worker at the feed mill, owned by Country Ribbon Incorporated, on Topsail Road. SJRFD Platoon Chief Derek Hunt said the employee was alerted to the fire by a smell likened to burnt popcorn in the air. The worker then detected heat on the outside of the silo, prompting a call to 9-1-1.

When fire crews arrived on the scene, shortly before 9:30 p.m., and opened an access hatch at the side of the silo there was considerable fire inside. Firefighters immediately started pouring water inside to douse the flames. Twenty firefighters, from several stations, attended the scene.

Hunt also said that due to the extent of the burning material and poor access to the fire they opted to use an aerial ladder to spray water through a vent at the top of the silo in an attempt to drown the blaze from above.

Hunt said the blaze could have been much more dangerous. The fire was in a silo that contained a corn product, of similar consistency to popcorn kernels. Had the fire started in a silo containing more finely-ground material they would have been looking at the possibility of an explosion.

Police were forced to close a portion of Topsail Road, just east of the Kenmount Road overpass, as crews needed a fire hydrant across the street. Firefighters were on the scene until 7:00 a.m. the following morning. With limited access points through which to spray water, and the volume of material involved, firefighters were unable to completely extinguish the smouldering material.

The silo suffered some damage to to the heat of the corn burning inside. Officials with Country Ribbon Inc. are at the mill this morning, assessing the situation.

Rabbits perish in early-morning shed fire

Firefighters made quick work of an early-morning fire that destroyed a small shed and killed two pet rabbits.

Fire crews were called to Colonial Street, in downtown St. John’s, at about 4:00 a.m. after receiving multiple calls alerting them to the blaze. When firefighters arrived on the scene smoke could be seen billowing from behind a row of houses. Limited access to rear gardens on the street forced crews to stretch a fire house through the front door of the home to get at the fire.

Ken Dinn, Platoon Chief with the St. John’s Regional Fire Department, stated there was no threat to any homes, which is always of concern when responding to a fire downtown. The small shed, which reportedly housed two pet rabbits, was completely destroyed.

It took firefighters less than a half hour to douse the flames. The scene was then handed to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary for investigation.

Arson suspect sought following early-evening fire

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) are looking for an individual suspected of arson following a fire on Bonaventure Avenue early Wednesday evening.

Shortly after 5:00 p.m. multiple calls were received by St. John’s Regional Fire Department (SJRFD) alerting fire crews to a blaze behind a residence at the corner of Bonaventure Avenue and Harvey Road. When crews first arrived a few minutes later they found heavy fire and smoke coming from a back deck of the home. Firefighters were able to quickly bring the blaze under control, preventing its spread into the eave of the home. A small gazebo attached to the deck of the home was completely destroyed, while the home sustained mostly superficial damage.

Through their investigation, the RNC have determined the cause of the fire to be arson. Late Tuesday evening police released a photo, obtained through CCTV footage, of a person suspected of arson in relation to the blaze.

The RNC is asking anyone with information to contact them at 729-8000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477). You can also provide information anonymously on the NL Crime Stoppers website. The RNC have not yet confirmed if there is a connection to three previous fires that were also deemed suspicious in nature.

SJRFD Platoon Chief Mike Hall credited firefighters with being able to douse the flames, which could be seen from Signal Hill, before the home sustained substantial damage. Hall also recognized the home’s close proximity to Central Fire Station, less than half a kilometre away, as a contributing factor in the speedy knock-down.

The building, known as The Observatory, was built in the 1800’s. It survived the Great Fire of 1892, and was designated a heritage building in 1994.

Firefighters save recreational building from significant damage

A quick response from St. John’s Regional Fire Department (SJRFD) Saturday evening saved a recreational building from significant fire damage.

Multiple 911 calls were received shortly after 5:00 p.m. Saturday evening alerting firefighters to a fire at King George V soccer complex, near Quidi Vidi Lake. When crews arrived a few minutes later they found a small storage shed fully involved with fire.

While it only took a few minutes to knock down the flames, there was concern about extension into a building that houses washroom facilities, locker rooms, storage, and a canteen. SJRFD Platoon Chief Dean Foley said while the building did sustain some fire damage to the outside wall and eave, there was no fire damage to the interior. The building’s attic space did fill with smoke, however firefighters removed a vent to allow the smoke to escape.

Crews were on scene for roughly an hour, at times using a thermal imaging camera to ensure no hot spots remained. An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.

A storage shed at King George V soccer complex was destroyed by fire, causing damage to the outside of a recreational building.

Heritage building destroyed by overnight fire

A well-known heritage building in the east end of St. John’s was destroyed by fire overnight.

Fire crews responded to Bryn Mawr, also known as Baird’s Cottage, shortly before 3:00 a.m. Friday morning. Mike Hall, Platoon Chief with the St. John’s Regional Fire Department (SJRFD) said they were alerted to the blaze by a passing taxi driver, who noticed smoke coming from the boarded-up structure.

When crews from nearby Kent’s Pond Fire Station arrived at the scene, located at 154 New Cove Road, they were met with heavy fire coming from the vacant building. Given the amount of fire present, crews were forced to take a defensive approach. At times, firefighters could be seen hosing down the roofs of homes across the street, as large flankers filled the sky and fell to the ground below.

Over twenty firefighters from three stations responded to the fire, pouring water onto the blaze in an effort to douse the flames. It took over an hour to bring the fire under control. The building was a complete loss, having been leveled to its foundation.

Baird’s Cottage, built in 1907, has been the subject of a public battle both in and out of the courts in recent years. It was recognized by Heritage Newfoundland and Labrador as a registered heritage structure in 1993, and similarly recognized by the City of St. John’s in 2016. Regulations surrounding its heritage status have halted proposed development of the land, placing the property in limbo. Despite the attempts of several interest groups to safe the building, the 115-year-old home remained abandoned and shuttered.

New Cove Road remained closed for several hours as crews battled the fire and cleared from the scene. An investigation into the cause of the blaze is ongoing.

Video from the scene of a fire that destoyed a 115-year-old heritage structure in St. John’s.
SJRFD Platoon Chief Mike Hall speaks at the scene of a fire on New Cove Road.

Goulds home destroyed by fire

A home in Goulds was completely destroyed by fire late Sunday morning.

St. John’s Regional Fire Department (SJRFD) first received a 911 call at about 10:20 a.m. from the resident of a home on Thistle Place, off Donovan’s Road in Goulds.  Several subsequent calls from area residents quickly followed, with thick black smoke billowing into the sky being visible from several kilometres away.

SJRFD Acting Platoon Chief Ed Sears said that when crews with the Goulds Volunteer Fire Department (GVFD) first arrived on the scene eleven minutes later the two-storey wooden home was fully involved with fire. Flames were coming from all four sides of the structure, and also from the roof. All the residents of the home were able to escape the blaze. One of whom was treated on the scene for smoke inhalation, however it’s unknown if they were taken to hospital.

Given the heavy fire upon arrival, firefighters were forced to attack the inferno from outside.  Crews spent considerable time trying to protect two neighbouring homes from the heat of the blaze.  One adjacent home is reported to have suffered minor damage.

Because there are no fire hydrants in the area, firefighters had to draft water from nearby Second Pond and pump it to the fire scene.¬† Once a reliable water source was established crews used a master stream from atop an engine to finally douse the flames. ¬†With large flankers and ash falling in the area, police closed Donovan’s Road in the immediate area to restrict access of curious onlookers and to allow crews space to work.

Firefighters were on the scene into the afternoon mopping up hot spots in the smouldering remains of the home.  The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is investigating.

Video from the scene of a fire that destroyed a home on Thistle Place in Goulds.

Fire causes serious damage to downtown apartment

An evening fire caused serious damage to one downtown apartment on Monday.

Emergency crews were called to the west end of Water Street at about 7:30 p.m. after a passerby noticed smoke coming from the second-storey window of a home. When firefighters arrived on scene they discovered fire in the bedroom of an upstairs apartment. No one was home at the time, and crews were able to quickly knock down the bulk of the fire.

An occupant of the downstairs apartment evacuated the residence as crews fought the blaze. The fire caused significant damage to the upstairs unit, while the downstairs apartment sustained some smoke and water damage.

Water Street was closed west of Leslie Street as personnel worked. After fighting the fire for a little over an hour the scene was left with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary for investigation.

Video from the scene of a residential fire on Water Street.

Kitchen fire injures resident, causes significant damage to west-end home

A kitchen fire caused significant damage to a home on Albany Street Sunday evening, and injured a resident who was home at the time.

Firefighters were called to the two-unit home shortly after 5:00 p.m. and arrived to find the kitchen of an upstairs apartment on fire. Crews deployed an attack line and quickly brought the fire under control. The kitchen suffered quite a bit of fire damage, with other parts of the home suffering smoke and water damage.

A resident who was home at the time reportedly suffered burns and some smoke inhalation. Paramedics tended to the individual. It’s unknown if they were transported to hospital.

After working for roughly an hour the fire department turned the scene over to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary for investigation.

Video from the scene of a kitchen fire on Albany Street (Earl Noble / NTV News)

Centre-city auto shop damaged by suspicious fire

A suspicious fire damaged a centre-city auto shop on Sunday evening.

Fire crews were called to Freshwater Auto on Freshwater Road at about 7:15 p.m. Sunday evening. When firefighters first arrived they found smoke billowing from the rear of the garage. Crews found a pile of tires on fire next to the rear wall of the structure.

St. John’s Regional Fire Department Platoon Chief Dean Foley stated crews made quick work of the bulk of the fire, however there was some extension into the insulation of the exterior wall. Firefighters used saws to cut through the metal cladding on the wall to access the remaining flames, and poured water down the wall from the roof to douse any remaining hot spots.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is investigating.

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