Bad News Blaze: News reports of bodyshop blaze name the wrong place

The remains of Harrietsfield Collision Services, not Harrietsfield Auto Services, after a fire on April 13.
By CRM Staff
Halifax, Nova Scotia — April 23, 2018 — It is the news no bodyshop owner wants to hear. At 6:06 AM on April 13, Andy Pinsent of Halifax Today posted a story with the headline “No one hurt in overnight Harrietsfield auto shop fire,” describing a blaze that had engulfed Harrietsfield Auto Services. Eighteen minutes later, the CBC posted a similar story, calling the unfortunate shop a total write-off.
By that point, Ian Purcell, owner of Harrietsfield Auto Services had already recieved several calls from concerned customer, and the calls kept rolling in. In a panic, Ian ran towards his business on Old Sambro Road, but was barred from the street by firefighters.
“I couldn’t see exactly what was going on,” says Purcell. “Eventually, I called the owner of another repair shop next door.”
After a few minutes of scoping out the scene, Purcell and his neighbour breathed a sigh of relief. “We realized it wasn’t either of our shops, it was another place, Harrietsfield Collision Services. It was certainly a huge relief.”
The owners of Harrietsfield Collision Services, however, were less fortunate. According to firefighters on the scene, the facility was already engulfed in flames when they responded to a call. With 55 firefighters responding on scene, efforts to thwart the blaze were slowed by several chemical explosions. The owners could not be reached for comment.
As for Purcell, whose business is still listed as the burned building on Halifax Today, he is grateful for the concern showed by his customers, if not for the inattentivity of local reporters. “I haven’t even tried to pursue getting them to issue a correction. I just keep letting people know we’re still here,” he says.
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