Family loses home, dog in Cole Harbour fire
A Cole Harbour family lost their home and a dog in a fire that started in the kitchen Sunday evening.
The fire, which gutted one part of a beige duplex at 223 Poplar Dr., began at about 6:30.
The homeowner, April McGrath, was cooking with her 17-year-old son, Jeremey, when something went wrong, a neighbour said.
The neighbour, Darlene Worth, said McGrath moved into the three-bedroom home about 28 years ago and lived there with three sons.
McGrath’s two youngest sons weren’t home when the fire started.
Her sister, Gloria McGrath, owns the other side of the duplex. That side of the structure didn’t appear to have much visible damage.
April McGrath and her son tried but were unable to get Sheba, their pit bull terrier, out of the home.
Halifax regional firefighters retrieved the dog. They took it out to the front lawn but failed to resuscitate it.
Worth, who moved to the area at the same time as McGrath, said she rushed to the scene when she heard the fire trucks.
“I was yelling ‘April, April, April,’”
The fire was roaring, Worth said.
“Just high flames coming out the front door and going straight up.”
Worth said she found her neighbour coughing and sitting on the grass across the street from her burning home.
“She was full of smoke.”
Worth said both McGrath and her son were treated by a team of paramedics who were stationed in an ambulance which was parked on the road near the fire trucks, Worth said.
Many neighbours along the street of well-kept, single family homes and duplexes came to the scene and some were hugging and crying.
“It’s a real family-oriented neighbourhood,” Worth said. “We all support each other.”
By 7:30 p.m., firefighters had put out the blaze and were packing up their gear.
But an hour earlier the scene was very different.
“Upon arrival, crews encountered a heavy volume of smoke and flames coming out of the front and rear of the structure,” said Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Services spokesman Platoon Chief Gary McCurdy.
The home appeared to be gutted, yet the opposite side of the duplex was pretty much unscathed, McCurdy said, explaining that a fire wall separated the two units.
“We had some concern about the fire extending into ... the attic space,” McCurdy said.
Firefighters were forced to cut a hole in the roof along the back of the building.
Investigators were expected to arrive at the scene Sunday night to try and determine what caused the fire.