Nova Scotia Archives

'An East Coast Port'

Halifax in Wartime, 1939-1945


Ariel view of fire at Piercey's, Robie Street

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Taken from Exhibition Grounds looking north. The most disastrous conflagration since the 1917 Halifax Explosion levelled the sprawling 8-acre Piercey's Supplies Limited buildings in 1944 and caused $450,000 worth of damage. Halifax's Air Raid Precautions (A.R.P.) force proved its mettle and worth after its volunteers donned their brown steel helmets, brown coveralls, Red Cross garb and other uniforms to fight the fire. A.R.P. firemen fought alongside permanent firemen; wardens supervised the safe evacuation of residents and their furnishings from neighbouring houses; and messengers scurried through the fire area to transport instructions and messages to their senior workers. Auxiliary police and wardens regulated traffic, guarded dangerous areas, and prevented looting. Sandwiches and coffee were distributed to weary fighters from the H.C.E.C. Red Cross Emergency Canteen. Major O.R. Crowell later praised the A.R.P. workers who had carried out their duties so effectively.

Date: 9 September 1944

Reference: John F. Rogers Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1995-370 19