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Amherst firefighters battle stubborn fire

Amherst firefighters battled a stubborn fire overnight Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021, that left 15 residents without shelter.

The alarm was turned it at 7:20 p.m.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, smoke was billowing from the eaves of the two-storey, three-unit apartment building on Gerard Avenue. A window at the back of the building was also blown out.

 “The 15 residents, six adults and nine children and their animals all got out safely,” Capt. John Matthews, Amherst Fire Department spokesman, said.Gerard fire 1 B

Fire teams fought the fire from inside the building. Initially, the fire was centred in a room on the second floor of the middle apartment. However, it spread into the roof.

Firefighters discovered there were many layers to the roof, which made it difficult for them to get at the fire.

Firefighters exiting the building to renew their air supply were covered in insulation that had to be washed off their bunker gear.

Smoke was still coming from the building at 6:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021.

The second-floor of the middle apartment received extensive damage, while the other units received water and smoke damage. The roof was also heavily damaged.

Thirty-five firefighters and all the department’s equipment battled the blaze.

Firefighters from the Truemanville, Springhill and Sackville, N.B. fire departments assisted in fighting the fire. A Nova Scotia Power crew cut power to the building and a team from the local Red Cross was also on the scene to provide assistance.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.