No word on cause of the blaze
Dave Snook was heading out to mow his lawn Tuesday afternoon when he saw smoke — thick and black — rising from just across the way.
His home is on Moores Drive in Mount Pearl and, just around the corner on Schreyer Crescent, someone else’s home was burning.
“When I seen the flames — the front of (the house) was gone,” he said. Flames were showing on both floors of the home, he said.
Shortly thereafter, about 50 people had gathered behind a line of yellow caution tape strung across the road, just a few steps from the end of Snook’s driveway.
The people came out to watch the response. Another small crowd gathered a little further down Moores Drive, on the other side of the turn onto Schreyer Crescent.
Between the two pockets of people were emergency response vehicles with lights flashing; firefighters, police, paramedics and city workers.
“It’s sad, very sad,” said onlooker Debbie Kelly, shortly after the fire collapsed the roof of the semi-attached home across the way.
“I just hope nobody was hurt.”
Supt. Don Byrne told reporters no one was injured in the fire.
A young man in the crowd said he lived in the home and was inside when the fire started, but he declined a request for comment.
Byrne, meanwhile, said the blaze started at about 2:15 p.m., confirming statements made by people in the area, including Snook.
The fireman said there was a first call to report the fire at that time. “After that we had numerous calls — a flood of calls,” he said.
Trucks arrived on scene within five minutes of dispatch, but flames were already licking from the whole front of the house.
Firefighters used a truck-topping turret nozzle, essentially a water cannon, to deliver more than 500 gallons of water per minute and try to keep the fire from taking over the attached, neighbouring home.
“That’s really the piece of equipment that saved the dwelling next door,” Byrne said.
The home next door was saved, but damaged. Two family pets from the home were reported missing.
By 3 p.m., the fire was under control and firefighters were cutting into the structure, looking for remaining hot spots, as they continued to douse the building with water from overhead.
At the same time, the crowds had broken up and Snook started up the lawnmower.
“It is shocking to be so close. I’ve never been so close to a fire where I’ve lived,” he said.
The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary fire investigator was on the scene, but a cause has yet to be revealed. The fire is under investigation.