Investigation launched after propane tank explodes in Dartmouth
Emergency crews are on the scene in Dartmouth after a propane tank exploded in the woods near 43 Mosher Drive in Burnside.
Police received the call around 10:30 a.m.
Bob Harris, who works nearby, says he heard at least three loud explosions.
“Just heard an explosion, next thing you know, there was a huge fire, probably 30 feet in the air,” says Harris. “Then I heard two or three more explosions and went back to see if anybody was there.”
Harris says he was particularly concerned about a homeless man who lives in the woods, which lead up to Department of National Defence lands.
“I’ve known this fella for a few years. I was just worried for him, worried that he might have been hurt…when I saw him, I was quite relieved.”
The man, who calls himself 'Snowman,' was not injured in the blast. He says he has lived in the woods in Burnside on and off for about 10 years.
'Snowman' was living in a small three-room shack made of tarps, insulation and plywood, where he says he had left small propane tanks.
He also admits he had left citronella candles burning at the site and that the candles may have caused the explosions and subsequent fire.
He says he was out having breakfast at the time of the explosion.
“The candle must have fell over and burned it up. I have to have a candle burning because of the bugs,” he says. “It’s gone now. All my stuff is gone. Everything I own.”
‘Snowman’ tells CTV News he is not on DND lands, but rather on Crown land. Military spokesman Mike Bonin says it's not clear what caused the fire or whether it originated on civilian or DND property.
Bonin also says police have had a history with ‘Snowman’ and that he will be evicted from the site.
“He has been on our property before and we have evicted him in the past,” says Bonin. “He has already been questioned by the military police and this is part of our investigation.”
Bonin says the fire is under investigation and there is no word on possible charges at this time.
As for ‘Snowman,’ he says he isn’t sure where he will make camp overnight.
“That’s the only place I got to live. I have no income.”
He says he makes a living picking up recycling around the Burnside Industrial Park and doing odd jobs for people.
He says he moved to the woods and stopped relying on homeless shelters and soup kitchens after he was cut off from social assistance.
“When they cut me off, I ended up out here. I’m a normal person just like everybody else trying to survive. It’s a little tougher for me but I’m doing it.”
Fire crews are expected to remain on the scene for most of the day to monitor hot spots but the fire is under control.
Miltary police and CFB Halifax firefighters also responded to the scene along with an explosive disposal team, who scoured the woods to ensure it was clear of ordinance.
Bonin says they unit was brought in as a precaution because of an explosion at a local ammunition depot in 1945 that sent ordnance flying in all directions.
He says there are no buildings on the property and no evacuations were ordered.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Marie Adsett and The Canadian Press