Top News

Sydney funeral home damaged by blaze

The black-soot covered front door of Chant’s Funeral Home was wide open on Sunday morning to let some of the fumes from Saturday night’s fire out.
The black-soot covered front door of Chant’s Funeral Home was wide open on Sunday morning to let some of the fumes from Saturday night’s fire out. - Nikki Sullivan

Chant’s Funeral Home had no bodies, ashes in storage at time of blaze

SYDNEY, N.S. —

The bitter smell of smoke wafted from the open doors of Chant’s Funeral Home Sunday morning, a reminder of the blaze 12 hours earlier that damaged the inside of the building.

Sydney Firefighters battle a blaze inside Chant's Funeral Home on Alexandra Street on Sunday night around 8p.m. The fire was out within an hour of firefighters arriving on scene and deputy chief of Cape Breton Regional Fire Service Chris March said owners reported no bodies or ashes being stored on the premises at the time of the fire. (contributed photo/Bruce McLean)
Sydney Firefighters battle a blaze inside Chant's Funeral Home on Alexandra Street on Saturday night around 8 p.m. The fire was out within an hour of firefighters arriving on scene and deputy chief of Cape Breton Regional Fire Service Chris March said owners reported no bodies or ashes being stored on the premises at the time of the fire. (contributed photo/Bruce McLean)

Every few minutes someone would drive into the parking lot for a quick look at the damage to the family-owned business.

“They had a good little blaze on their hands,” said Bruce McLean, who lives across the street and started watching the fire when the fire trucks arrived shortly after 8 p.m.

“The Chants are really nice people.

“All the funerals we’ve had to go through, we go to Chants.”

Owner Sheldon Chant, pastor of the Mighty Fortress Church in Louisbourg is “pretty distraught” said Jill Nemis, managing director of the funeral home.

“To see flames shooting out of that building was just devastating,” said Nemis, who has worked at Chant’s Funeral Home for 10 years.

“I’ve been throwing up all night and crying all morning. I grew up in that building. Sheldon made me who I am.”

Cape Breton Regional Fire Service deputy chief Chris March said 10 firefighters from both Sydney departments responded to the call at 8:07 p.m. on Saturday.

By 9 p.m. the fire was extinguished and firefighters stayed on scene until 11:20 p.m.

There were no injuries and Nemis confirmed there were no bodies or ashes at the funeral home at the time of the fire.

“We keep everybody off site,” she said.

Cape Breton Regional Police forensic unit was at Chant’s Funeral Home by 10 a.m. Sunday morning investigating the cause of the fire. At this point it is still unknown.
Cape Breton Regional Police forensic unit was at Chant’s Funeral Home by 10 a.m. Sunday morning investigating the cause of the fire. At this point it is still unknown.

Firefighters wouldn’t let anyone in the building but told Nemis there is extensive damage to the chapel area.

While there was no funeral scheduled for Sunday, one that was scheduled to take place Monday has been moved to another location.

Community support has been pouring in since news of the fire hit social media Saturday night. Nemis said they’ve heard from churches and other organizations offering their venues to hold services booked for this week.

Cape Breton Regional Police were at the site Sunday investigating. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Anyone with questions regarding funeral services at Chant’s is asked to call Nemis at 902-539-4458.

Recent Stories