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Destructive Canning fire damages multiple Main Street buildings


CANNING, N.S. —

It looked like a scene straight out of a blockbuster film.

But it couldn’t have been more real for roughly 75 Annapolis Valley firefighters.

Fire departments from throughout Kings County were dispatched to Canning’s Main Street around 3:15 a.m. Sunday.

A residential, two-storey structure at 9826 Main, between the meat market and grocery store, was engulfed in flames.

“The first officer on scene found the structure fully involved on the front from first floor, second floor and through the roof,” said Canning fire chief Jeff Skaling.

“We immediately had our automatic aid protocol for structure fires activated, so we had multiple departments coming in.”

The sky was aglow as the raging fire spread to neighbouring buildings to the east and west.

“The buildings in Canning on the main street are very close together… either attached or separated by a two-foot, three-foot walkway for most of them,” Skaling said.

Automatic and mutual aid protocols played a key role in ensuring firefighters were able to get ample amounts of water on the destructive blaze in short order.

“We had great support from our mutual aid partners in the fire service,” said Skaling, who noted that Hantsport’s department also assisted.

Aerial trucks were called in from Kentville and Wolfville.

“It was a big fire,” said Skaling, noting that tankers were used in addition to water sourced from nearby hydrants in the village’s downtown core.

“We did pre-plan for this. Fires on Main Street are one of our big concerns because the buildings are old, mostly wood-framed and very close together.”

He said the bulk of the blaze was extinguished by 7:30 a.m.

 “We did have to evacuate six residents from an apartment building farther west. They were able to get back into their apartments by around 9 a.m.”

There were no civilian injuries, but Skaling said four firefighters were treated for minor injuries he described as sprains, strains, over exertion and some smoke inhalation. Three were seen by EHS paramedics at the scene. One firefighter was treated at Valley Regional Hospital and released.

The building known to be the origin point of the fire is destroyed, Skaling said. An unoccupied apartment building and commercial storage building used by the grocery store were heavily damaged.

Multiple businesses were in contact with insurance companies the morning of the fire.

Skaling said the meat store sustained smoke and water damage, while the grocery store also experienced smoke damage.

“There will be some business interruptions,” he said.

A portion of Main Street was closed throughout the day Sunday as work continued at the scene. Electricity was temporarily disconnected to assist with the fire suppression efforts, and RCMP also attended.

The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.

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