A structure fire Sunday night on Greenwood Street has claimed the life of a family pet and has displaced four people – likely permanently.
“We were called at 4:45 p.m. and responded from both stations,” says Fire Chief Ian Baikie, “because we were told there was visible fire. Upon responding, crews did see fire through the upstairs windows, and got inside as soon as possible to knock that fire down.”
It took a while to fully extinguish the blaze, however, as the residence, Baikie says, “was at one time a double-wide mobile home,” and “the fire migrated through the walls into the attic, due to a lack of fire-retardant drywall.”
By the time they had the situation dealt with at 7:30 p.m., five vehicles and 25 fire personnel were on scene.
Two of the residence’s four occupants were sent to hospital and treated for smoke inhalation, Baikie says, but no other human injuries were reported.
The body of the family dog, however, was found in the room determined to be the origin of the fire. Baikie says the house is likely a total loss and they are unsure as to whether the structure was insured, as they have received conflicting reports on that.
The four residents of the home will be provided food and shelter at a local hotel for 72 hours through the province’s Emergency Social Services program, at which point, Baikie says, they will need to find other accommodation.
“I don’t see anyone inhabiting that house any time soon,” Baikie said. “From the replacement value of that house, I would say it’s at least a 50 per cent loss.”
Baikie also says the messaging for the community after this incident is to check your smoke detectors and make sure they’re in working order.
“Without a working smoke alarm, there would have perhaps been a different, even less favourable outcome for these folks,” Baikie says, as the fire broke out in an area of the home that wasn’t being used at the time, and the resident who alerted the rest of the house discovered the fire after going upstairs to find out why the smoke detector was going off. Baikie says they will likely never know the exact cause of the blaze due to the extent of the damage.
Although the dog’s body was found in the room determined to be the fire’s origin, along with a lamp that had been left on, no conclusive evidence can be drawn from those facts.
“Did the dog knock over the lamp that managed to catch some bedding on fire? We’ll probably never know,” Baikie says, but adds there is nothing suspicious about the incident.
“We don’t have reason to believe it was anything more than accidental. We’re sure where it started, but I’m not sure we’ll ever know exactly what caused it,” Baikie says.