Possible Arson: Kingston chief says firefighters put at risk

Published on May 17, 2017

Firefights from Kingston, Nictaux, Middleton, and Aylesford fought this fire at a vacant old farm house on Torbrook Road late in the evening on May 13 and were still on the scene at 6 a.m. May 14. The RCMP is considering the fire a possible arson.

©Bill Roberts

TORBROOK - A late-night fire May 13 on Torbrook Road, that RCMP are calling a possible arson, put firefighters at risk, the Kingston fire chief said.

And it forced the Kingston volunteers to cancel their Mother’s Day Breakfast the next morning.

Chief Watson Armstrong said firefighters were called out at about 11:50 p.m. Saturday and arrived at the scene to discover the back of the century-old farm house was fully involved.

“Initially we got that down, but we didn’t want to go in the house because it’s just the nature of the house, no one was there,” Armstrong said. “We really didn’t know what we were getting into. So we fought it from the exterior.”

Armstrong said Middleton, Nictaux, and Aylesford firefighters were called in to help and used a tanker relay to get water from a nearby river. Torbrook road is on the Annapolis/Kings county line. Armstrong said if the fire had been on the other side of the road it would have been Nictaux’s fire.

RCMP officers watch as firefighters battle the blaze at this vacant home on Torbrook Road on the weekend. Annapolis District RCMP issued a media release May 17 seeking the public’s help in identifying a man leaving the scene shortly after the fire started.

©Bill Roberts

He said the house was vacant and fortunately there were no firefighter injuries.

“We spoke to the fire marshal,” Armstrong said. “There was not enough left to do an investigation. We did call the RCMP in. I’m not sure what they had found or what they did.”

While Armstrong wasn’t saying the Torbrook Road fire was deliberately set, he suggested vacant buildings should be checked on from time to time.

“There’s people out there that just look for that -- for lack of a better word -- entertainment and nine times out of 10 they’re sitting there watching us putting it out. Just for the thrill,” said Armstrong. “But it’s dangerous for us. On that site there was a pit, or an abandoned well of some sort that was probably five or six feet square. I’m not sure how deep it was but one of our firefighters could have gone down in it. We didn’t see it obviously, because it was dark. We saw it the next morning when it was daylight.”

In fact they were on the scene until after 6 a.m.

Fire destroyed this home on Torbrook Road overnight May 13-14. Police consider it suspicious. The house was vacant at the time.

©Ashley Thompson

“We had to cancel our Mother’s Day Breakfast that we had planned for that morning,” Armstrong said. “The guys were absolutely exhausted. By the time we got the trucks packed up and everything it was probably six o’clock. Six, six-thirty. We have to put our firefighting at the top of the list.”

He said he hopes the general public understands why the breakfast was cancelled.

On May 17, RCMP issued a media release asking the public to help find a person of interest seen leaving the area shortly after the fire started. Annapolis District RCMP are attempting to identify him and speak to him.

Anyone with information about this fire is asked to contact Middleton RCMP at 902-825-2000.

Should you wish to remain anonymous, you can also contact Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or text TIP202 + your message to 'CRIMES' (274637) or submit tips by Secure Web Tips at www.crimestoppers.ns.ca.

Calls to Crime Stoppers are not taped or traced and if police make an arrest and lay charges based on a tip, callers qualify for a cash award. 

Fire destroyed this home on Torbrook Road overnight May 13-14. Police consider it suspicious. The house was vacant at the time.

©Ashley Thompson