Emergency crews were called to a Dartmouth apartment building for the second time in three days early yesterday morning to deal with what appears to be arson.

 

And they’re not thrilled about it.

 

John MacNeill, acting platoon chief for Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Service, said three trucks and 14 firefighters responded to the complex at 25 Highfield Park Drive just after 2 a.m., to find someone had apparently sparked a blaze in a garbage can, which then spread to the nearby wall.

 

No one was hurt, and there was little damage done to the building itself despite the “heavy black smoke” that billowed from the laundry room through the third floor hallway, MacNeill said.

But someone easily could have been hurt, he said, adding firefighters could have missed out on a more serious call. “It ties them up when (they) could be doing something else.”

“It’s dangerous,” he said. “Anything could go wrong.”

Paramedics and police officers also responded to yesterday’s suspicious fire, helping evacuate residents who were ripped from their sleep.

Sgt. Gordon Graham of Halifax Regional Police said yesterday a second small fire had started in the apartment’s south stairwell, but it went out on its own.

“Someone was just holding a match or a lighter to the wall," he said.

MacNeill said the investigation was handed over to police so they can pinpoint the person or people responsible.

Emergency personnel also ended up at that apartment last Thursday, at about 1:50 a.m.

“It was pretty much the same thing,” Graham said. “Flyers in a garbage can were set on fire,” this time in the second floor laundry room. A tenant was able to grab a fire extinguisher and knock the blaze down, police said.

MacNeill said he would "venture a guess" the assailants are the same in both cases, but added "it could be copycats, it could be kids, it could be tenants - who knows?"