The power outage caused by Hurricane Dorian hampered the call for emergency services after an outbuilding where a generator was being stored caught fire in St Edward on Sept. 8.
Marla Delaney had stopped by her parents’ home on Union Road for a cup of coffee and was having breakfast with them when the lights suddenly dimmed.
“We had a generator running, then the lights slowed dimmed and then went out, so Dad went out to the building to see what was wrong and the corner of the building was on fire,” she said.
Ms Delaney said her father heard a big bang coming from inside the building before he ran back to the house.
“He ran in and told us to call 911 because the building was on fire.”
The outbuilding, its contents, including a ’71 Chevy truck that her father owned for 10 years, a camper parked in front and other items located near the structure were all destroyed by the fire.
Ms Delaney made the call to 911 shortly after 9 am, but with the power outage, she had a hard time getting through to emergency services.
“I only had one bar on my phone and when I finally did get through, they had a hard time hearing me, but finally they did understand what I was saying with the address,” she explained. “When they finally put the calls out, all the pagers were down because of the power being out, so it took them a long time for them to come. A bit longer than usually I guess I would say.”
Ms Delaney estimates it took about 30 minutes before the firefighters arrived on the scene.
“It was just a fluke someone heard a beep on their pager,” she said.
Word of mouth amongst the firefighters alerted the majority of them about the situation, said Duffy Chaisson, deputy fire chief of the Miminegash Fire Department.
“The barn and the camper were fully engulfed,” said Mr Chaisson about the situation when the fire department finally arrived on the scene.
Mutual aid was called, with Tignish and Alberton fire departments providing extra water.
It took about an hour for the 30 some firefighters on the scene to extinguish the blaze.
“It was hard to deal with because of the winds,” said Miminegash Fire Chief Rob Tremblay.
Ms Delaney said the fire spread quickly because of the high winds that morning.
The used camper, but new to her, was only recently purchased by Ms Delaney’s mother this year.
“She only got to use it for two weeks and she was upset because she hadn’t cleaned it all out yet, so there was a few things still in the camper that she had taken camping,” she said.
Although her parents were upset over the fire, Ms Delaney said both were thankful that it didn’t happen in the middle of the night during the height of the hurricane.
“They might not have heard anything,” she said. “It could have been a lot worse. The house could have been gone.”