by Kathy Johnson
Firefighters in western Shelburne County were kept busy last week, responding to three structure fires within a 19 hour period.
"That must be some kind of record," said Dwayne Hunt, captain with the Island and Barrington Passage Fire Department after the third call.
The first call, which came in at 3:29 p.m. on April 20, was to an abandoned building behind the Shopper's Drug Store complex near the Cape Sable Island Causeway.
"It was burning inside and there was a lot of smoke" when firefighters arrived on the scene, said Island and Barrington Passage Fire Department deputy chief Morris (Moe) Nickerson.
"We had it knocked down in 10 to 15 minutes," said Nickerson. "We had it under control pretty quick."
Firefighters were on the scene for about two hours. The building sustained serious damage. "It's a loss," said Nickerson.
The cause of the fire was arson, said RCMP Corporal Mario Ross, adding an arrest is pending in the case.
The next call came that night. This time it was a home security system that set off the Shag Harbour/Bear Point Fire Departments' pagers at 11:40 p.m.
"There was smoke coming out from around the eaves," said pumper captain Danny Jack when the department responded to the fire call at the Twinkie's Corner house near the Shag Harbour/Woods Harbour boundary.
"We had to get in and find the problem," said Jack. "The biggest thing was getting to where it was."
While the fire was contained to one room, with the open concept of the home there was a lot of smoke damage throughout.
Firefighters from Woods Harbour, Island and Barrington Passage, and Barrington fire departments responded to the call.
The cause of the fire was traced to the mechanical failure of a fan in a heater, said Jack. The house was insured. It is owned by an American couple, who had just left that morning for the U.S.
All hands were back on deck in the morning, with call number three coming into the Island and Barrington Passage Fire Department at 10:30 that a restaurant in Lower Clark's Harbour was on fire.
When firefighters arrived on the scene the building was filled with smoke.
"We knocked it down really fast," said Hunt, which "kept damage to a minimum. "There was a lot of heat and smoke damage but not too bad," he added.
Firemen had to gain access to the locked restaurant by breaking out the glass in the door as well as a dining room window.
Firefighters from Woods Harbour, Shag Harbour/Bear Point and Barrington assisted on the call and were on the scene for about two hours.
The RCMP Forensics Identification Services unit as well as the fire marshal were the scene the following day conducting an investigation into the blaze.
Cpl. Ross said the cause of the fire is suspicious, adding if anyone has information that may assist the police in their investigation they should contact the Barrington RCMP Detachment or Crime Stoppers.