Nova Scotia Archives

'An East Coast Port': Halifax in Wartime, 1939 - 1945


Queen Hotel Fire

The Hon. M.B. Archibald, Justice of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, was subsequently appointed a one-man commission to investigate fire prevention, fire suppression and the safeguarding of human lives in Halifax, with particular reference to the Queen Hotel fire. His report (Journals and Proceedings of the House of Assembly 1940), noted that:

"There was a scarcity of ladders of sufficient length to reach to the upper floors of the building. [The] aerial ladder is twenty years old, and from the evidence of the firemen and the Chief of the Department, it is apparent that the ladder is unsafe. It cannot be utilized to complete extent.

Men using this ladder are warned by the Chief of the Fire Department that they do so at their own risk. The presence of overhead live wires, combined with the failure to provide the Fire Department with more efficient, up-to-date and speedy wire cutting apparatus, greatly hampered the fire fighters during this fire, and interfered with the work of rescue of occupants of the hotel."

Date: 02 March 1939

Reference: J.F. Rogers Nova Scotia Archives 2004-047 no. 31

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