A passing motorist called 911 Monday night to report a possible brush fire in the area of the Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro station on Mount Scio Road in St. John’s upon noticing smoke in the wooded area.
But upon their arrival and driving up a lengthy, partially hidden driveway amongst tall trees, firefighters from the Kenmount fire station quickly discovered the home at 238 Mount Scio Rd. was on fire and they required the immediate assistance of backup stations.
The call was quickly upgraded to a structure fire and assisting crews from the Central and Kent’s Pond fire stations were on the scene within minutes. A total of 18 firefighters were there.
St. John’s Regional Fire Department (SJRFD) Shift-Supt. Derek Chafe spoke to the media once the fire was under control.
“Within a few minutes after their arrival, the flames broke out through the house and as a result the house is now completely destroyed,” said Chafe amidst the water pumper noise of the Central unit Engine 11 in the background ferrying water to the Kenmount pumper near the home.
Firefighters were hampered in their efforts due to the fact that there were no fire hydrants on the busy thoroughfare in the immediate area and, as a result, water had to be trucked back and forth from a hydrant down the road on Cumberland Crescent. The fire lit up the night sky, with dense smoke rising up through the trees.
“There was a garage that was probably 40-50 feet away from the home, and that just had some melted siding, but that’s OK. We kept the fire from spreading to that, so the fire is basically restricted to the home,” said Chafe, adding the firefighters were not concerned the fire would spread to a nearby home.
Chafe said there was no one home at the time, and from the information gathered at the scene, the homeowner was out of town, but family members of the homeowner were there and were escorted to the area of the burning home by an RNC street patrol member.
As for a possible cause of the fire, all Chafe was able to tell reporters was, “The fire is under control and the dwelling is completely collapsed. What we’re doing now is we’re knocking down the fire and all the hotspots in it, and I’m not able to give any possible cause of the fire at this point — none at all.”
RNC fire investigators are expected on the scene early this morning.