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Quick response gets fire out fast at vacant Middleton house

Middleton firefighters received a 10 p.m. call to 12 School Street Aug. 19 where a vacant house was on fire. Deputy Fire Chief Jody Spidle, left, was first on scene and described lots of smoke. Chief Mike Toole, right, ran the scene from the front of the house and later donned gear to inspect the inside.
Middleton firefighters received a 10 p.m. call to 12 School Street Aug. 19 where a vacant house was on fire. Deputy Fire Chief Jody Spidle, left, was first on scene and described lots of smoke. Chief Mike Toole, right, ran the scene from the front of the house and later donned gear to inspect the inside. - Lawrence Powell
MIDDLETON, N.S. —

A vacant house at 12 School Street in Middleton just about went up in smoke late Monday evening, Aug. 19, but Middleton firefighters were on the scene within minutes to quickly gain the upper hand.

An inspection by a representative of the fire marshal’s office the morning of Aug. 20 determined the fire was not suspicious and probably electrical in nature.

“When we arrived there was heavy smoke coming from the back of the building and there was a glow in the windows to the south side of the building,” Spidle said. “That was pretty much our first analysis of the fire.”

Spidle says firefighters entered through the front door and knocked down the fire very quickly and contained it to an area in the basement.

Chief Toole said crews broke out a window in the back and the fire was in the southeast corner.

“They punched out the basement window because the fire was right there,” Toole said. “There was like a room there. They knocked the fire down first and then went through the front door and down through the basement.”

Also at the scene were firefighters and equipment from Kingston, Nictaux, and Lawrencetown and a portable tank was set up for tankers to dump water. The fire was out so quickly only a couple of loads were needed and there was a hydrant across the street from the building.

Firefighters received the call at 10:03 p.m. A witness at the scene said smoke was billowing from the basement and through the eves on the north side of the building.

The old house was formerly an apartment building but no one has lived in it since July 19. It is owned by Rob Lawrie who recently purchased Home Furniture and Home Hardware in Middleton. He arrived at the scene and said plans are for the building to be demolished. Power had been disconnected to most of the building and he was just waiting for the final disconnection and the go-ahead to knock the house down. His plans now are to board the building up until demolition.

Toole said his concern had been for adjacent buildings such as Home Hardware just metres away.

“If that building was hot I definitely would have been worried about that,” he said. “It was definitely a quick response.”

Besides firefighters, RCMP maintained a presence at the scene until after 1 a.m., and Nova Scotia Power was on hand to disconnect that final connection which was to the basement.

Several years ago a large warehouse directly across the parking lot from 12 School Street burned to the ground.

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