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Explosions rock Happy Valley-Goose Bay as residents ordered to leave area threatened by fire

Police in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L., have declared a state of emergency following “several explosions” at the site of an uncontrolled fire burning near explosive material.

“Emergency services are on the scene of a large structure fire,” a provincial emergency alert warned late Friday. “There have been several explosions.”

There are no reports of injuries from the fire that broke out on Friday evening at the north end of Happy Valley-Goose Bay near abandoned buildings at the former airport.

Residents are being asked to remain at least a kilometre away from the area that extends from the end of the airport to the docks, as fire crews work to extinguish the blaze.

Flames can be seen above the rumble as a fire destroys an old airport hangar.
The hanger for a former airport in Happy Valley-Goose nearly finishes burning to the ground. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

Area residents told to evacuate homes

“We are dealing with a fire emergency situation in our community,” Mayor George Andrews said in a video posted to the town’s Facebook page.

Andrews said several buildings have been affected by the fire. He urged residents on the north side to immediately evacuate but added there is no need for concern for residents in the Spruce Park area of town. Anyone requiring evacuation assistance can call 709-896-3084. 

The RCMP said the following streets are directly impacted:

  • Halifax Street
  • Toronto Street
  • Winnipeg Street
  • Ottawa Avenue
  • London Street
WATCH | Residents witness fire before area closed off: 

explosions rock happy valley goose bay as residents ordered to leave area threatened by fire 1

N.L. town’s old airport tower goes up in flames

5 hours ago

Duration 0:35

Residents in Happy Valley-Goose Bay are now being asked to stay away from an area where a fire is burning near a former airport on the north side of the Labrador town.

“In the interest of public safety, homeowners are strongly encouraged not to attend their properties at this time,” the RCMP said in a statement late Friday. 

In a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, N.L. Premier Andrew Furey said he has spoken with MHA Perry Trimper and offered full support to Andrews. 

“We will be there to help in any way we can,” the premier said.

The scramble to get out

Monica Legge told CBC News she was watching the fire from her back deck with her husband when RCMP arrived at their home and told them they had to evacuate. 

She said they scrambled to gather some belongings and their six dogs, and to alert other people who lived with them. 

“We made sure that they were in their vehicles and on their way and gone before we left,” Legge said.

A Happy Valley-Goose Bay Search and Rescue member stands on a road to direct traffic.
RCMP and Happy Valley-Goose Bay Search and Rescue set up a perimeter around an uncontrolled fire. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

She noted that before she left, she also rushed to alert neighbours that they had to leave because she was concerned the RCMP officers who told her to evacuate hadn’t gone to other homes in the area. She said the area is zoned as a commercial, but that there are a number of residences as well. 

Lake says she’s concerned about the fate of her home now after hearing a very large bang come from the area.

“It’s going to be a very, very long night,” she said. “I’m just on pins and needles worrying about everything.” 

SPCA had to relocate animals

The Happy Valley-Goose Bay SPCA is also located in the vicinity. Bonnie Learning, the organization’s vice-president, told CBC News the situation was manageable because the shelter wasn’t full.

“All of our animals, right now, are sorted out,” Learning said. “We’ll just have to play it by ear in regard to the situation, in terms of getting back into the shelter.”

WATCH | Uncontrolled fire in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L., sparks several explosions: 

explosions rock happy valley goose bay as residents ordered to leave area threatened by fire 3

Uncontrolled fire in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L., sparks ‘several’ explosions

6 hours ago

Duration 1:09

Locals in the N.L. community located a two-hour flight north of St. John’s watch as fire crews arrive on scene to an uncontrolled fire that’s led to explosions and a state of emergency.

She hopes that will be in the next 24 to 48 hours, but said they have places for the animals to stay should it take longer.

“We’re confident that things will be OK and please be to God everyone will be safe and all the first responders on site will be safe and nothing really crazy or catastrophic is going to happen.”

This article is from from cbc.ca (CBC NEWS CANADA)

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