MEC&F Expert Engineers : By ruling out other causes, the fatal fire in Dartmouth likely caused by improper disposal of smoking materials

Thursday, June 7, 2018

By ruling out other causes, the fatal fire in Dartmouth likely caused by improper disposal of smoking materials

A backhoe propped up the badly damaged roof of a Dartmouth apartment building Monday as investigators examined burned-out units, trying to determine the cause of a weekend fire that killed one person, sent another to hospital and displaced about 150 tenants.

Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency has closed its investigation into a May 19 fatal fire at an apartment building on Primrose Street. Alexa MacLean/Global News

Fatal fire in Dartmouth ‘likely’ caused by careless use of smoking materials
By Alexander Quon Online Producer/Reporter Global News

Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency said last month’s fatal apartment fire in Dartmouth was likely the result of careless use of smoking materials.

Fire investigators say they use the term “likely” in describing the source of the fire because, in this case, the official cause is undetermined.

“We look at the entire history of the building, what witnesses tell us about that apartment and what occurred, and that’s why we believe (improper disposal of smoking materials) occurred,” said Deputy Fire Chief Roy Hollett on Wednesday.

The fire reportedly began on May 19, at around 3:30 a.m., and was large enough that roughly 40 firefighters were on scene for most of a day to battle the blaze and stabilize the structure after a portion of the roof collapsed.

Investigators say the origin of the fire was a third-floor apartment unit living room near the couch. Hollett says the cause of the fire was determined by ruling out other potential causes.

“We ruled out electrical … we start from what we know and what we don’t know, and we try to come to somewhere in the middle that gives us a story as to what happened,” said Hollett.

The name, age and gender of the deceased has not been released, but Hollett said the victim lived where the fire started.

Fire investigators are urging the public to be vigilant in the use and disposal of all smoking materials.

Dartmouth community pulls together following devastating fires 

The May 19 fire wasn’t the only one that shook members the north-end Dartmouth community. Just hours after the Primrose Street fire, another apartment building broke out into flames on Brule Street.

Officials have since deemed the Brule Street fire not suspicious and say there isn’t a connection between the two.