WARD’S BROOK – A home was gutted by smoke and water damage here Wednesday, as several Cumberland County fire departments responded to the call of a mid-day structure fire.
Local firefighter Keith MacClelland called in the fire when he spotted smoke coming from the home of his neighbours, Lindsay and Paulette McCully, on Ward's Brook Beach Road, shortly before 11 a.m.
“I was going to my mailbox down the lane, and I started to see some smoke,” said MacClelland. “When I got back, I looked down the road, and smoke was really coming out from the peak. I went down and looked, and that’s when I called it in.”
With his fire department radio, MacClelland contacted his emergency dispatcher directly, prompting an emergency page to the FPW Fire Brigade of Port Greville. Deputy chief Wyman Bowden was about 10 minutes away when he received the call. Knowing of the limited personnel available during weekday hours, he requested backup assistance from neighbouring departments in Parrsboro and Advocate.
As fortune would have it, Advocate fire chief Mike MacDougall happened to be working in Port Greville at the time, and heard the emergency call on his radio. With Bowden’s go ahead, he took the FPW pumper truck and was the first firefighter on the scene with MacClelland.
“The windows were all blacked out, and I started doing a 360 (check around the house),” said MacDougall. “The glass was cracked in the front and back window and smoke was rolling out under the eaves, and from every window. You couldn’t see inside the house at all.”
The initial concern was that at least one of the homeowners might still be inside, as well as a dog, but the firefighters were soon informed that the house was empty, according to Bowden, who said neither homeowner was home at the time.
“When our attack team as ready, they entered the front door to make sure there was no backdraft or anything,” he said. “They proceeded to the kitchen area where most of the smoke was coming from, and discovered a pot burning on the stove.”
“It was still red hot, and the stove was still on,” said MacDougall. “We then shut the power off to the whole building.”
The firefighters quelled the blaze quickly, dousing the kitchen and other hotspots discovered upstairs.
The normally quiet community was a bustle of lights and sirens, as a total of six fire departments responded with multiple emergency vehicles, as well as an ambulance and RCMP officer. Fire departments responded from Port Greville, Parrsboro, Advocate, Joggins, River Hebert and Southampton.