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UPDATED: Residents evacuated as avalanche hits one home in St. John's Battery

Avalanche in the Battery.
An avalanche sent snow through a home in the Battery. - Contributed

Everyone escaped with no injuries, says fire department

A snow avalanche hit the St. John's neighbourhood known as the Battery around 5 p.m. Friday in the midst of a record-breaking blizzard.

St. John’s Regional Fire Department (SJRFD) Platoon Chief Dean Foley said it hit one house.

A resident of the Battery took this photo of firefighters at his door Friday night. -Contributed
A resident of the Battery took this photo of firefighters at his door Friday night. -Contributed

He said the fire department was on the way to the area shortly after 5 p.m., and the fire department was talking to one of the occupants on the phone who said everyone who was inside the house got out safely with no injuries.

SJRFD Chief Sherry Coldford said it took firefighters about three hours to reach the home. She said city crews were “phenomenal” in bringing plows and blowers to help them access the notoriously narrow, steep neighbourhood perched on the edge of a cliff near St. John’s harbour.

Five people were evacuated out of the area due to concerns about another potential avalanche. They were provided accommodations through the Canadian Red Cross and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. 

She said firefighters walked door to door in the area to tell residents accommodations were available for them if they wished to leave their home, but it was just the five residents who chose to leave and the rest decided to remain at home.

Colford said due to the poor conditions it was around 11 p.m. before they were able to evacuate those who wished to leave.

“One of the captains said it was the hardest he’s ever worked in his career, and he’s been with the fire department 25-27 years,” she said. 

“And the Battery is a challenging area for us anyway for accessibility. With the extreme amount of snow we had yesterday, that made it a lot harder. I commend our crews - they were pretty determined to get in there.”

Colford said there was an extra crew on yesterday so those responding to the Battery were able to rest. 

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