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Community gets together one year after devastating Hammonds Plains, N.S., fire

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The Hammonds Plains fires are now a year in the past, but for many of the residents who lost their homes or where displaced, the incident is still fresh.

“It was very traumatic to have minutes to evacuate your home and see smoke and fire burning all around you,” says Elsje Falcone.

Seventy one families in the Highland Park subdivision lost their homes, another 38 where damaged.

Elsje and Jim Falcone were among the lucky few to escape the flames with their home untouched, many who didn’t are still rebuilding their properties.

“We’ve been displaced ever since, but the people that are still in the subdivision, either with major damage, minor damage, or no damage still feel this impact on a daily basis,” says Tricia Murray-D’Eon, resident and chair of the Highland Park Ratepayers Association.

As part of the healing process, Murray-D’Eon helped organized an ice cream social and community walk for those from the devastated subdivision.

“It’s important to have the community get together. We are celebrating moving forward, this is not a moment of tragedy,” Murray-D’Eon says. “This is a way to come together to celebrate a new year. We’re hoping that people can continue to rebuild and come back to our community and that we will be whole again eventually.”

Moving forward together is one of the steps in that process.

People walk on a trail on the one-year anniversary of the Hammonds Plains, N.S., wildfire. (Jonathan MacInnis/CTV Atlantic)

“Our house was damaged in the fire. We did not lose our home, but our home was damaged in the fire, but a lot of our neighbours lost their homes so we’ve been coming together more as a community since the fire,” says Krista Hilchey.

“We’re doing some recollection of the last year, as a family, the trauma we went through, the support and the resilience afterwards. But like Krista said, just supporting each other is really important for us,” adds her husband, Jeff.

That’s how the community has come this far, and will continue to do moving forward.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

Correction

This article has been updated with the correct subdivision with the destroyed and damaged homes. A previous version said it was in the Haliburton subdivision.

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