Prince Rupert firefighters battled heavy winds and driving rain to contain a blaze at Love Marine Electric on Saskatoon Ave. early Monday morning.

UPDATED: Love Marine Electric building engulfed in blaze

Firefighters battle winds up to nearly 70 km/hr to contain fire, embers the size of fire helmets

Prince Rupert firefighters were called to a blaze at Love Marine Electric on Saskatoon Ave. early Monday morning.

When firefighters arrived at approximately 3:30 a.m. the building was fully involved with flames having penetrated the roof.

“When we got here the flames were already coming out of the roof, ” Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Beckwith said at the scene. “There was a narrow driveway between [the other property], so we managed to get some containment hoses in there and prevent it from spreading.

“We weren’t sending anyone inside at this point … it is just risking men’s lives,” Beckwith said.

“So, [upon] initially arriving we didn’t have much for an interior operation opportunity. It was strictly defensive in exposure protection,” Beckwith told the The Northern View later in the morning.

” [The fire] was throwing embers off there that were the size of a fire helmet into the air. It was incredible.”

Beckwith said the fire had much more convection energy. As an example, he said, a small campfire will throw sparks, but when there is a large fire such as Monday morning’s blaze, it will throw embers into the air called ‘fire brands’.

“A brand like that can land on a roof. With a fire like that we had concerns for houses on Silverside because it was definitely a wind-driven fire, so it was feeding the fire lots of oxygen. It’s like fanning a fire in your fireplace. When you blow on it, it blows hotter and harder. When there is that much energy and heat behind it, it can throw a fire brand hundreds of metres away.”

Winds in excess of 44 km/hr with gusts that reached nearly 70 km/hr fed the fire, but firefighters managed to contain it to just the Love Marine Electric property.

The fire was basically extinguished by 11:30 a.m. Beckwith said, with crews still on site dealing with hotspots.

“The exposures in this building were the vehicles around it, like the boats. Eby’s Construction is right beside it and we were able to make sure there was no damage to Eby’s. Some of the vessels suffered a little bit of radiant heat damage.”

An investigation into the cause of the blaze will be conducted.

With files from K-J Millar

Prince Rupert Northern View