UPDATED 6 p.m. Monday, December 7, 2015.
HALIFAX – Halifax police are calling a fire that destroyed a vacant building under construction on Maitland Street in Halifax early Monday morning suspicious.
Halifax Fire responded to the three-storey structure shortly after 2 a.m. When they arrived the building was fully engulfed in flames.
Police are now investigating the fire. They arrested a 49-year-old man near the scene of the blaze on Monday, but he was later released without charge.
Halifax Fire says their investigation will continue tomorrow morning and they need to bring in a backhoe to clear debris.
Firefighters battled the blaze for more than an hour Monday morning.
“Their main concern was trying to contain the exposures and put water on any buildings that might be in danger,” said Brad Connors, acting division commander with Halifax fire.
Nearby residents were evacuated for the majority of the morning. A business next door also suffered minor damage to it’s roof after firefighters cut into it to prevent the fire from spreading.
Jerry Izuogu was evacuated from his nearby home in the early morning hours.
“I heard the sirens at first, then I heard the knocking,” said Izuogo, noting that it was a scary situation to be in.
“I was petrified. I’ve never seen a fire that big. And I would say opening my door it felt like the sun was up, it was that bright and that warm.”
Peter Baranowski said he was asleep when the fire broke out and immediately ran for safety.
“I saw the fire from my window, I live in the building right next door. I awoke and say a small amount of flames coming out of the window of the new building and within a minute it was fully engulfed. So I put my shoes on and grabbed my coat,” said Branowski.
No one was injured as a result of the fire. Crews remained on the scene throughout the morning putting out hot spots.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.