Fire damages historic Halifax building; restaurants damaged, tenants displaced

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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HALIFAX - A stubborn blaze that kept 40 firefighters busy for hours destroyed several apartments and damaged three restaurants in downtown Halifax on Tuesday.
Residents of the strip of historic buildings on South Street saw smoke and called the fire service just after 8 a.m.
"Our first arriving firefighters did encounter heavy smoke on the second and third floor," Dave Meldrum, a spokesman for the Halifax fire service, said at the scene.
At the time, he said, no residents were in the three-floor brick building that was built in 1870 and was once the home of Malachy Bowes Daly, Nova Scotia's lieutenant governor from 1890 to 1900.
Some hose teams entered the building and some worked from the rooftop. Other firefighters went inside a restaurant next door to ensure the fire didn't spread there.
"The common attic is a huge concern," Meldrum said at one point.
Firefighters shut down the propane supply to the restaurant and two others and had Nova Scotia Power cut the electrical supply to the area. Thousands of customers were without power at 9 a.m., but most had it restored within an hour.
An investigation into the cause is to begin Wednesday.
Tenant Amy Theriault, 30, has enjoyed living the last four years in her downtown apartment that has tall ceilings, wood floors and big bay windows that look over Cornwallis Park.
"It's an awesome place," she said. "I always, in the back of my mind, wondered if it would go up in flames one day, just because of all the restaurants downstairs and it's an old place."
The nearby Westin Nova Scotian Hotel opened an emergency relief centre for at least 23 displaced tenants from 18 units.
The Red Cross provided clothing, food, personal-care items and temporary accommodation for those in need.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Power, Westin Nova Scotian Hotel, Red Cross

Geographic location: Halifax, South Street, Nova Scotia Cornwallis Park

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