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Sunday, January 27, 2013

UPDATE: Cold Causing Problems At Mecklenburg Fire

The extreme cold causing some problems with fighting the blaze on Mecklenburg street that destroyed 2 buildings and caused severe water and smoke damage to a third.

Divisional Chief for Fire Prevention Mark Wilson tells CHSJ news they had problems with a few fire hydrants freezing up, causing them to use hydrants a little farther away. Another big danger was the close proximity of surrounding buildings and high winds. 

Now that the scene is secure, investigators will try to determine a cause. Wilson says any fire is considered suspicious until they find out how it started. He says crews will most likely be on the scene for the rest of the day.

The Saint John Fire Department had to call in 4 off duty crews to battle the 2 am blaze, which started and destroyed a 3 story vacant building at 72 Mecklenburg street.  The Canadian Red Cross says 16 people - including 5 children - have been evacuated. Wilson says they won't return to their homes for at least 24 hours.
Wilson says the blaze is classified as a major fire.

Great Outdoors Full Of Winter Activities

Getting outside and enjoying the bitter winter can be 'cooler' than you think.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is showing you the beautiful outdoors at a wellness fair today at Market Square. NCC spokesperson Andrew Holland says the Musquash Estuary boasts 3,900 acres of forest and two trails. He says that's plenty of space for activities like birding, snowshoeing, and even a popular treasure hunting activity called geocaching.

The Fundy Wellness Network will also be promoting healthy eating, living and activities today in Market Square from 1 until 4.

Premier Hasn't Seen Change With Ousted MLA

Premier David Alward says he's ready and willing to sit down with independent Fundy River Valley MLA Dr. Jim Parrot, but doubt he'll see a change.

Parrot was ousted from the Tory caucus in September after he criticized the party for not listening to doctors when making decisions on healthcare.  Alward says he understands Parrot wants to meet with him, and he will, but adds that so far he's seen no change in Parrot's attitude.

Alward says when Parrot made his comments he broke their trust, which is why they made the difficult decision to cut him from the Conservatives.

Alward says they did wish him well over the holidays, when Parrot underwent heart surgery.

Two Fires, Same Location In KV

Fire crews in the KV being called to two fires in the same location.

An oil furnace malfunctioned and overflowed, causing fire and smoke in the basement of A-1 Auctioneers on Millennium Drive in Rothesay. Crews put out the fire around 7 last night, but were called back a second time after it was worked on by service crews.

No one was hurt in the incident.

After School Programs Get Boost From Province

After-school programs getting a $52,000 boost from the provincial government.

The After School Hours grant program helps fund opportunities for school children to be active and engaged in fun activities. First Nations, schools, licensed day cares, community organizations and family resource centres in Saint John, Fredericton and 6 other communities have received the funding.

Healthy and Inclusive Communities Minister Dorothy Shephard says after-school hours are a key time and opportunity for kids to be active.

Sarah Wagner, interim executive director of the organization, says there's a need in the province for quality after-school programming that's affordable and accessible.

Know Ice Strength By Color & Thickness

As we're smack dab in the middle of winter, skating outdoors on frozen lakes looks very tempting.

But to be safe, Divisional Chief for Fire Prevention Mark Wilson says you have to look at the color of the ice and measure how thick it is. Ice is strongest when it's clear blue, if it's white/opaque it's half as strong, and if it's grey in color it's very unsafe. If the ice is 15 cm thick it's safe to walk on, 20 cm means it can hold groups or party games, and 25+ cm can handle snow mobiles.

Wilson adds it's best to avoid going out alone and at night. For more information on ice safety, click here.

UPDATE: 2 Buildings Destroyed By Fire On Mecklenberg

Fire crews are still battling a major fire in the south end, which has completely destroyed 2 buildings and caused serious water and smoke damage to a third.

Fire Platoon Chief Peter Saab tells CHSJ news the fire started at 72 Mecklenberg Street around 2 am, then spread to 2 other buildings eastward. The first two buildings are completely gutted, and had their back ends completely cave in from the damage. Saab explains the first building was unoccupied, while the surrounding homes were evacuated and no one was hurt.

Saab says it's a stubborn fire that's deep in the building and will take awhile yet to put out. Over 30 fire fighters are on scene, Saab says they're not only battling fire but the cold and exhaustion. 

The Canadian Red Cross say 16 people were evacuated and sheltered on city transit buses until Red Cross volunteers arranged emergency lodging at motels.

There's still no sign as to what caused the fire. Fire investigators will look at the scene once everything has been extinguished.

VIDEO: Major Fire Rages On Mecklenberg

BREAKING: Major Fire In The South End

An early morning blaze on Mecklenberg Street is engulfing at least two buildings and endangering several more.

The blaze was thought to have started in an abandoned home at 72 Mecklenberg, which neighbours say they believed to be occupied by squatters. Tenants of the adjacent buildings were evacuated.

Several ladder towers, fire trucks and an ambulance remain on the scene. No word on how many people were displaced by the fire, or what (if any) injuries may have been sustained.