Electrical panel identified in Cardigan fire

Steve Sharratt
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Business suffered $75,000 in damages

CARDIGAN – The largest feed service operation in eastern P.E.I. is still standing today because of the expertise of volunteer firefighters, says the manager of the Cardigan Feed Service.

“We were two minutes away from losing it,’’ said Mary VandenBroek during an interview Thursday. “And today we would have had nothing but a pile of ashes.”

The operation, owned and operated by the VandenBroek family for the past 50 years, caught on fire around 10:30 Wednesday night. The incident happened around the same time as high winds and rain knocked out power to parts of eastern P.E.I. as well. 

The commercial fire alarm in the building is battery powered and sounded off before flames ended up causing about $50,000 to $75,000 in damages. The fire was contained to the electrical room and VandenBroek Grant said the entire structure would have been levelled had firefighters not been able to contain it.

“It was the expertise of those firemen,’’ she said. “They are such skilled people and courageous.”

Firefighters from Cardigan, Montague and Georgetown all responded and a DSPA canister was tossed into the burning electrical room upon first arrival. The device sucks the oxygen out of the room and enabled firefighters to get a handle on the blaze before it spread throughout the entire building.

“The alarm saved us and by going off it alerted the fire department,” she said. “They were here in minutes.”

“We were likely two minutes away from losing the whole thing.” Mary VandenBroek Grant

The fully insured feed service is located in the heart of the village just around the corner from the local fire department. It is filled with feed, machinery, a dispensing silo and a fleet of trucks.

“The fire has been ruled accidental,’’ confirmed provincial Fire Marshal Dave Rossiter who was on the scene Thursday morning. “The fire originated in the electrical panel in the basement and the cause is attributed to a malfunction in the panel.”

The feed service was inundated Thursday with well-wishers and callers and will need a complete electrical room renovation before resuming normal operations.

Organizations: Cardigan Feed Service

Geographic location: Eastern P.E.I., Georgetown

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Recent comments

  • Joseph Kuesis
    December 16, 2013 - 12:57

    The DSPA 5 used in the fire DOES NOT SUCK OXYGEN out of the room. It actually does not affect O2 levels at all. DSPA aerosol attacks fire at the molecular level. It exchanges Oxygen for potassium thus not allowing Oxygen to participate and taking away the fires ability to exist. Oxygen is still present but cannot interact. We are very pleased that the DSPA 5 did exactly what it was designed to do and saved this long established business.