Kings County air quality warning due to fire removed

Wendy Elliott
Published on March 27, 2016
Kentville firefighters and their peers are getting a break after fighting a debris fire near McGee Lake for five days.
File photo

KENTVILLE – “Just picture a pile as tall as the Cornwallis Inn standing in a field,” says Kentville Fire Chief Ryan MacEachern.


That was the height of the construction and demolition debris pile near McGee Lake, large enough to accommodate four moving pieces of heavy equipment and two aerial ladders.

On Easter Sunday volunteer firefighters are monitoring the fire scene at the dump southwest of Kentville for hot spots.

Kentville Fire Chief Ryan MacEachern has been out twice today checking for smouldering areas.

“I think we’re on the right track,” he said. “We just want to make sure we have water put in place.”

According to MacEachern, portable pumps will be utilized now to re-circulate water back onto the pile in case of hot spots.

Staff employed by South Mountain Construction and Debris Recycling Ltd., the fire chief said, are now assisting. Three excavators and one bulldozer continue to turn over the pile.

Once MacEachern determines all the hot spots are out, then the scene can be coated in sand or gravel.

The recent fire broke out on a pile of debris identical to one that caught fire two years ago at the same location.

“We can’t have this,” the fire chief stated. “I’ve spoken to the Fire Marshall and he’ll back me up.”

MacEachern has some common sense ideas in mind to prevent a third fire. He explained it was not a final landfill pile, it was a preliminary or picking pile.

“For the future one of my ideas is that it has to be picked better first,” MacEachern added. “I hope we can learn from this and make sure it does not happen again, rectify it before it gets to that step.”

He noted that his firefighters are all pretty tired now. Many are back in the Kentville fire hall Sunday afternoon cleaning equipment used out at North River Road.

MacEachern added that the volunteers are still snacking on the food donations that started arriving at the station on Good Friday.

A provincial environment official was on the scene during the firefighting, the chief added, so well testing and monitoring are taking place.

Environment Canada has removed the air quality warning it broadcast on March 24 just after the fire broke out.

Did you know?

In 2015, reported the company was fined for knowingly contravening a term or condition of their approval to operate under the Environment Act Dec. 1, 2014. Owners Derek and Barbara Shaffer pleaded guilty in Kentville provincial court Sept. 23 to the charge and were fined $1,153.95.

There are currently 25 approved C&D waste disposal operations in Nova Scotia. All are inspected and monitored at regular intervals.