As of the Northern Pen's deadline, the cause a fire that destroyed the Elite Builders building, in St. Anthony last Sunday hadn't been determined. However, the RCMP investigation was ongoing.
© Adam Randell
St. Anthony Fire Fighters responding to a fire call at Elite Builders.
The St. Anthony Fire Department received the call at 8:07 a.m., and 17 members were on the scene in less than 10 minutes.
It appeared the fire had been burning for some time as Fire Chief Levi Reid noted flames were coming through the roof, and had spread to all areas of the building located in the Highway-Commercial area of North Street.
Initially attacking the fire with its 1,000 gallon pumper, the fire was knocked down considerably but additional water was needed.
A second 1,000 gallon pump was on standby to fight the fire, but it wasn't enough to subdue the flames.
With the no fire hydrant in the general area, department members set about running more than 400 metres of hose to tap into water.
But the distance would prove to be a challenge.
"We couldn't get enough pressure on our hydrant to feed the truck, so we had to disconnect again and put one of our trucks in between the hydrant and us, to feed (the pumper)," Reid said.
"So we kept hitting it with water. It was an unoccupied building, so we didn't send anybody in, the roof was caving and it just wasn't worth the risk."
Reid said firefighters opened windows and doors to attack the flames inside.
Within an hour the fire was contained within the building and no other property damage occurred.
But the building and its contents were ruined.
"You could hear the paint cans exploding," he said. "A couple of the boys got covered in paint when they were mopping up afterwards, when the cans just let go under the pressure."
No fire hydrants located in the Highway-Commercial area of town, which also houses a diesel power generation facility, is something Mayor Ernest Simms said will be addressed relatively soon.
"There's never been either problem up there, but I never realized there wasn't either fire hydrant up there until the day of the fire," he said. "But there is one downstairs (in the town council building) being prepared for installation."
The hydrant is being provided by Hydro and will be installed the immediate area.
Simms said a hydrant was never installed in the location because the area was developed after the town's water and hydrant system was put into place some four decades ago - which excluded that area of North Street.
"That area was nothing but bog when the waterline was put through," he said. "You don't put hydrants on the line for the sake of having them on the line. If that were the case you'd have had four or five hydrants before you even got close to the first house. There are homes and businesses there now, but back then there wasn't."
The new hydrant is expected to be installed next month.
Furthermore Simms told the Northern Pen that as many as a dozen hydrants around town are experiencing problems.
"We won't have a final number until we do our hydrant flushing program this summer," he said. "We know there are at least a dozen for sure."
He said the town has applied for hydrant repair funding, but it has yet come through.