Skip to main content

Roofers hailed as heroes for alerting neighbours to Tantallon-area fire

A Halifax roofing crew is being hailed as heroes for their actions Sunday, after springing into action and alerting neighbours when they spotted smoke and then a fast-moving wildfire in Upper Tantallon, N.S.

"We could all smell smoke," roofer Eric Lafitte told CTV News Wednesday.

"Came over the peak, and someone got a little video… It wasn't much at first, but the smoke was getting really thick and it was starting to come towards us. Then it was a little bit of a panic to get off and get everybody out.”

Within minutes, the smoke turned to fire and spread rapidly.

"There was eight foot flames that looked like a bonfire. And then, instantaneously after that, there was a 60-foot tree that burst into flames," said roofer Adam Wolfe.

The roofers say, everything after that became a blur. They gathered equipment and fanned-out, pounding on doors and alerting neighbours.

John Barrington stayed to assist the homeowner at the job-site, valiantly battling the growing flames with a garden hose.

"She (the fire) was really fast," said Barrington.

"Like any one of these trees behind me here, went up like that in seconds. And, there was a times when we looked behind us. the main fire was there, and all of a sudden, there was a another fire started over there."

Lafitte says they knew the fire was going to be big.

"It was very windy. The wind was just feeding that fire like you wouldn't believe. Everything we were trying to get out, there was something else starting. It was all over the place within seconds."

While some grateful neighbours have already expressed gratitude for the actions of the crew that day, the man who owns the company says it's a bit overwhelming.

"They're good guys, and like I said, we were just doing our job, right? And it happened. And it's time to go," said Francis Lafitte.

Officials have said the cause of the ongoing Tantallon wildfire will be investigated by someone appointed by the Nova Scotia Department of (Natural) Resources and Renewables, but it's unclear who's leading the probe for the time being.

"The investigation is being led by Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency and the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables," HRM Communications Spokesperson Laura Wright told CTV News via email.

There was no response to an inquiry to a department spokesperson by news deadline Wednesday.

Asked whether he felt like a hero, Barrington was quick to answer.

"Absolutely not," he said.

“I was just in the right place at the wrong time, I guess."

Wolfe added they just did what they thought they should do.

"These first responders and these fire people are doing what they can. Hopefully, we get rain soon,” said Wolfe.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

Stay Connected