NEW PROSPECT – A recycling business near Parrsboro was destroyed by fire here early Friday evening.
The fire at Durant’s Bottle Exchange was reported shortly before 7 p.m. on Feb. 15, with the Parrsboro Volunteer Fire Department responding. Mutual aid was called in from neighbouring departments in Port Greville and Southampton, and RCMP and Nova Scotia Power crews also responded.
The depot building, which was unoccupied at the time, and a transport trailer beside the building were destroyed.
Reported initially by a passerby who spotted flames coming from the rear of the building, the fire was well involved by the time firefighters reached the scene, according to Parrsboro Fire Chief Randy Mosher.
“Some was rolling out from under the eaves, and as soon as I got around to the back, I knew the back right hand corner of the building was pretty well involved because both of the sliding vehicle doors were just about ready to burn through, so it had been going for a bit,” he said.
While there was nothing left of the structure to “officially” determine the cause, the chief surmised that the fire started in the area of the building’s wood/oil combination furnace, based on where the fire was most intense and where the roof collapsed first.
Despite the potential hazards, no firefighters were injured during the response.
“My first concern was the fuel tank they had around back, but I went around and it was still a good distance from flames and still cool to touch, so we were safe there,” said Mosher.
Although the building included empty paint cans, the danger from that was not as high as some might expect, as most paint used today is latex-based, he explained. The plastic materials created air toxins, but all frontline firefighters made use of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) equipment. In total, close to 40 SCBA air cylinders were used.
For building contents, the most potential danger came from the glass bottles. That and the extreme heat, combined with the building’s lightweight truss roof construction, prevented any interior attack.
“I knew we weren’t going in through the front door, because there was way too much glass around,” said Mosher. “If something went bad, it wasn’t just the fire I was worried about, it was getting shredded with flying glass. Around the two sliding doors in the back, the heat was already intense there.”
Although unable to save the building, the firefighters were able to contain the fire to the single structure and trailer, and prevent spread to neighbouring residences. The chief said he was happy with the response, and appreciated the help from Port Greville and Southampton, whose new tanker trucks provided the bulk of almost 25,000 gallons of water put on the fire.
“When you roll up to something that’s already that involved, and you can keep it from spreading, and nobody gets hurt, you’re doing well,” he said. “Saving something would have been nice, but I don’t think there was much to save, even by the time we got there.”
The bottle exchange was back in operation at a nearby location on Monday morning.