Arson destroys house under construction in Fall River

Arson destroys house under construction in Fall River

26 August 2013

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Canada — Halifax firefighters are investigating a suspicious fire at a house under construction in Fall River.

Just before midnight on Sunday, Halifax Regional Fire crews were called the place on Ballentyne Way, off Heddas Way. The exterior was almost complete on the house before it burned to the ground.

“Our dispatch centre received a call for what originally came in as a possible brush fire or bonfire,” said Steve Auton, an acting division commander for Halifax Regional Fire.

“When our crews arrived there was a building under construction that was pretty much fully destroyed.”

RCMP have categorized the fire as arson.

According to police, the home was framed with doors and windows but was still unfurnished. Pat Keating of Halifax Regional Fire said the house was not yet connected to an electrical source.

“We have no reason to think it was an accidental fire,” he said.

While crews were working on that fire, they got a call about another one that had started at the back of a house on Lakecrest Drive in Middle Sackville.

Dennis Purcell said he was fast asleep when he heard a loud bang, just after 1 a.m. on Monday morning. A few doors down from his home in Middle Sackville, he saw a red glow.

“It was at that point that I saw the flames were shooting 50 or 60 feet in the air,” he said.

Because crews were already battling flames in Fall River, it took the first fire truck 13 minutes to get to Lakecrest Drive. Another truck took more than 20 minutes to get to the scene.

“The fire had worked its way up the back of the house and had heavily involved the roof. The structure was untenable for firefighters to enter,” Auton told CBC News.

“Everybody was out of the house and our crews fought that.”

The building in Middle Sackville was destroyed.

“When a building collapses in on itself like that, there’s always a lot of hotspots and you still have walls standing that are in danger of falling down,” he said.

“We don’t risk our crews around those.”

Auton said the family living in the Middle Sackville home escaped uninjured and were staying with friends.

Both fires are still under investigation.

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