CORNWALL – A friend showing up at the right time possibly saved a man from losing his entire Lascelle Avenue home to fire Wednesday.
Firefighters and paramedics were called to 1424 Lascelle Avenue – the last house at the north end of the street – around 2:20 p.m.
“What is was, it was a burn that started in the chimney,” homeowner Scott McConkey told Cornwall Newswatch. “I started one (a fire) early this morning. (There) must have been a bird nest in the chimney. Once it backed up it caught fire in the basement,” he said.
The home was under renovation at the time. “It was almost done. The inside’s all done…not any more,” McConkey lamented.
A friend, Naoufel Echaouni, happened to stop by to pick up some tools, minutes after the fire started. “The whole fire came out of there,” he said, pointing to the wall on the north side of the building, “It was coming between the two walls. I was breaking down the insulation and putting the water and he put me on the scaffold with the hose before they come,”
Echaouni says McConkey was also fighting the fire with an extinguisher before firefighters arrvied.
“Lucky I came. He’s my friend. I came at the right time.”
Platoon Chief Pierre Baril says a preliminary investigation shows a wood burning appliance may be to blame. “There was a wood-burning appliance situated in that area which obviously was the result of the fire,” he said.
The fire climbed up the inside wall making its way through the first floor and halfway through the second floor of the building, Baril said.
Firefighters had to use pike poles (sharp picks) and chainsaws to pull the exterior and interior walls apart to get at the flames.
The fire prevention office is investigating.
“They’re going to look at everything. Although it looks like the wood-burning appliance, it could be something else, but they’re going to look through all of that – the electrical conditions of the unit as well,” Baril said.