Rural Nova Scotia fire department in Canada rebuilds with donated equipment after burning down
The fire department in Shinimicas, Cumberland County in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia is back to fighting fires thanks to other fire departments around Nova Scotia, Canada. The department's building was deemed a total loss after a fire ripped through it on Thursday, 23 April 2020. “Everything that was in there is just going to be completely written off,” said Shinimicas Fire Chief Jesse Brine. The fire that started in the engine of a fire truck damaged all of the department's fire equipment, including all three fire trucks. But the fire department in nearby Tidnish Bridge lent them a 28-year-old fire truck and it was pressed into service right away. The day after the fire destroyed their building, Shinimicas fire fighters were back in action beating back a grass fire with the old truck. “It was literally trial by fire and I was pretty impressed with our members,” said Brine. “They didn't hesitate to jump into action with the limited equipment that we had in hand.”
Brine says loaner trucks are coming in from departments in Cape Breton, Mahone Bay and Hants County. Other gear is being offered up and some of it is actually being turned down. “If we took everyone's offers we'd be overwhelmed with equipment and gear,” said Brine, who is appreciative of the support. “We've kind of been picking and choosing and it's been great that everyone is donating stuff to us.”
While the department is getting back up to speed, it still doesn't have a space for the donated equipment and vehicles. Brine said it will likely take months to sort out an insurance claim and when a rebuild could commence.
Nova Scotia's fire marshal is investigating after the fire. Chief Brine said his members responded to the blaze after getting a call at around 20h45. When they arrived, they saw a pumper truck was on fire inside the hall, which is located about 30 kilometres east of Amherst, Nova Scotia. The fire fighters attempted to get the other two trucks out of the building but the smoke was too heavy.
Fire departments in Pugwash, Tidnish Bridge, Truemanville, Amherst, Oxford, Leicester, Springhill and Collingwood responded and fire fighters were on scene until around 1h00am.
It's unclear how the fire began but a news release from the Municipality of Cumberland County said the fire marshal is on-site on Friday, 24 April 2020, to investigate. “An important part of the Shinimicas area was lost last night due to this devastating fire. We recognise the importance of this building to the community,” said Joe van Vulpen, district councillor, in the release. The release also said fire chiefs from Pugwash, Tidnish Bridge and Truemanville will ensure fire coverage for Shinimicas.
While the building itself is still standing, Brine said it's a total loss. “The roof is sagging and it's going to have to be torn down,” he said.
Monica Fisher, who lives nearby, was the person who originally called for help. She said she looked out her living room window at around 20h30 on Thursday to see a ‘ball of black smoke’ above the building. The smoke appeared to be in the direction of where her husband's mother lives, so she and her husband drove down to check it out. “When we arrived, we saw that one of the doors where the fire trucks are parked was full of flames,” she said. Her niece, who also lives in the area, told her that she had heard two explosions.
Andy Yarrow, chief of the Pugwash Fire Department, said if there's a silver lining, it's the teamwork demonstrated by the departments that responded. “We worked really well together. It's not often that that many departments work together at a fire scene,” he said. “Things went very well, all things considered.”
Source: CBC Canada