Halifax

Environment department investigating Kings County auto scrapyard fire

The provincial Environment Department is investigating after a fire at a vehicle junkyard in Kings County Thursday night.

The Waterville and District fire department was called to the site on Cambridge Mountain Road shortly after 8 p.m. after reports of flames and black smoke.

Fire chief Wayne Johnstone said the initial report on the scene was that 10 cars were on fire, but in the end, it might have been as many as 20 as the fire spread.

“They were in an area where they were going to be crushed,” Johnstone said.

He said the yard owner had been crushing cars for the past three weeks, but the ones that burned were not at that stage.

The fire also spread to piles of tires containing an estimated 100 in total.

“That’s probably what was putting up all the black smoke,” Johnstone said. “When I left home, even as dark as it was, you could see the black smoke.”

The fire was almost at the back of the yard, which meant supply hose had to be run in from quite a distance away at the entrance. Tanker trucks then shuttled water to the site to be pumped from the road to the fire engine that weaved its way through the yard to the burning vehicles.

Firefighters from Kentville, Berwick and New Minas also responded to the fire.

The cause is under investigation but finding one would be difficult.

“The police were there,” Johnstone said. “It’s hard to say. There are rumours people were getting in there and stealing things off vehicles. It’s one of those (that’s) hard to determine.”

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One firefighter suffered a knee injury and was treated at the scene but did not need to go to hospital.

The last crews left the scene around 1:30 a.m.

The provincial Environment and Climate Change department was contacted about the fire.

Department spokeswoman Kristin Matthews said in an email that one of its officers responded to the scene to assess any potential release or impact to the environment.

“It is up to the approval holder to conduct any necessary clean-up, and ECC will ensure that the approval holder is in compliance with the approval and the Environment Act regulations,” Matthews said.

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