When the owners of a greenhouse operation in Lakeville, Kings County arrived home from dinner Friday night, they were met with flames showing from the roof of one of the main buildings.
Kentville fire chief Brian Desloges said his department received the structure fire call about 9:37 p.m. May 3. As the firefighters were just returning to the station from another call, they were able to quickly respond with full crews.
“So that saved us about six or seven minutes of wait time for the first dispatch of the truck,” said Desloges in a phone interview May 4.
As the crews made their way to the Lamont Road farming operation, Desloges said smoke was visible in the night sky from several kilometres away, and the glow from the blaze was evident.
“It was a very fast, rapid moving fire through an old barn,” said Desloges.
The structure, which was about a storey and a half, was used for storage.
Firefighters aboard the first two tankers to arrive on scene hit the burning building with water using high pressure deck guns.
“At that point, the building had burned so significantly that the roof was open, the walls were burnt off — nothing left (but) extending timber,” said Desloges.
“They had full access to the entire building and began to literally surround and drown for the first five or 10 minutes.”
Aside from some scorching and heat damage, the neighbouring greenhouse structures — some of which were located less than 20 feet away — were saved from significant damage.
“I can tell you that the loss of the generator, the loss of the water supply, the loss of the heating plant system for a greenhouse that grows tomatoes and cucumbers is the most significant loss,” he said.
The fire chief said he estimates there’s at least $400,000 worth of damage, but noted that doesn’t factor in the impact the fire could have on continued operations.
Desloges said they’re ruling the fire as accidental, determining it likely started as a mechanical or electrical issue with the pellet-fueled hopper.
Mutual aid from Hantsport to Aylesford aided the Kentville Fire Department, largely providing water to the scene.
“We probably had at one point 11 different tankers from 11 different fire departments plus about four or five engine companies who were on the ground standing with hoses and making sure we did not have extension,” he said.
The chief said the owners had insurance on the property.