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‘Intense’ fire in Bathurst under control, air quality warning lifted

A fire on Ste. Anne Street in Bathurst that led to the evacuation of 100 nearby homes is under control but still active, the city said on Sunday.

City spokesperson Luc Foulem said no one was injured in the blaze at the Eddy Group, a business that sells plumbing, HVAC and electrical supplies.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, he said. Eddy Group did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

“As far as the amplitude or the magnitude of the fire, this is most definitely one of the most intense, if not the most intense, fire situations that we’ve had in the city,” Foulem told Radio-Canada.

The weekend structure fire was the worst in Bathurst's recent history, city spokesperson Luc Foulem said.

The weekend structure fire was the worst in Bathurst’s recent history, city spokesperson Luc Foulem said.

The fire was the worst in Bathurst’s recent history, city spokesperson Luc Foulem said. (Louis-Philippe Trozzo/CBC)

The affected site is the main Eddy Group distribution centre for all Maritime customers, Foulem said, so it holds a lot of inventory.

“Hence the intensity of the fire last night,” he told CBC News. “We’re talking about a major operation there.”

An air quality advisory in place for the area was lifted on Sunday afternoon.

The city announced a temporary shelter at the City Hall Pavilion Gym on Sunday morning but closed it in the afternoon, citing “an improvement of conditions at the site.”

Rubble on the site of a structure fire at the Eddy Group head office in Bathurst.

Rubble on the site of a structure fire at the Eddy Group head office in Bathurst.

Rubble is shown on the site of a structure fire at the Eddy Group head office in Bathurst. (Louis-Philippe Trozzo/CBC)

‘We can still see the smoke,’ says resident

Shreyas Puthran, who works at a gas station located close to the fire location, said the situation has improved compared to Saturday night.

“We can still see the smoke. It’s definitely more white and light greyish now,” he said around 7 a.m. Sunday.

Denis Chamberlain took this photo of the Bathurst, N.B., fire around 9 p.m. AT Saturday.

Denis Chamberlain took this photo of the Bathurst, N.B., fire around 9 p.m. AT Saturday.

Chamberlain took this photo around 9 p.m. Saturday. (Denis Chamberlain/Facebook)

Puthran said he became aware of the fire Saturday around 9 p.m. when he spotted a “giant, black plume of smoke” when he went out to run errands.

“It was pretty intense,” he said. “There was a lot of fire.”

Puthran said there are a lot of trees in the area.

William Leet was biking down St. Peter Avenue when he spotted the fire. He stopped to take a video and noticed the wind was spreading the flames off the Eddy Group property.

Leet was also concerned about the fire spreading to the woods, or the nearby K.C. Irving Regional Centre arena.

The fire happened at the Eddy Group building on Ste. Anne Street in Bathurst, N.B. This image is from Saturday evening.

The fire happened at the Eddy Group building on Ste. Anne Street in Bathurst, N.B. This image is from Saturday evening.

The fire happened at the Eddy Group building on Ste. Anne Street. This image is from Saturday evening. (Submitted by Shreyas Puthran)

“Everyone seemed very scared and panicked, and was wondering how is it going to be contained,” he said. “I do remember some fires (in Bathurst) but not as severe as this one, and dramatic as this one.”

Mayor Kim Chamberlain said if any resident has concerns about air quality or safety they should contact the Bathurst Police Force.

Foulem said fire crews will likely remain on site for the next few days.

The Eddy Group said in a social media post Sunday evening that the loss caused by the fire was significant but the company plans to rebuild.

The post thanked first responders for their work in bringing the fire under control and preventing it from spreading to nearby properties.

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