Fire levels Newington home

Residents gather on the street as fire rips through this Newington home on Fairground Drive on Nov. 16, 2015. Neighbours said the homeowners were away visiting relatives when the fire started. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

NEWINGTON – A family has lost their home to a raging late night fire in the village.

South Stormont firefighters were called around 11:45 p.m. Monday to 16 Fairground Drive where a two storey home and garage was fully involved.

Neighbours identify the homeowners as Rob and Pansy Lang, who were visiting their daughter in Casselman when the fire started.

“We heard banging, we didn’t know what it was so we went running up to the house,” neighbour Corinna Walsh told Cornwall Newswatch. “We’ve been here 28 years so they have been here around the same time.”

Another citizen, identified by witnesses as Mark Prendergast, spotted the flames and tried unsuccessfully to get into the house before firefighters arrived.

Flames tear through this home on Fairground Drive in Newington, Ont. on Nov. 16, 2015. There were no reported injuries. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)
Flames tear through this home on Fairground Drive in Newington, Ont. on Nov. 16, 2015. There were no reported injuries. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

The loss has deeply touched this tight-knit community, about 30 kilometers northwest of Cornwall.

Ronnie Hawn, who lives across the street, told CNW he could smell smoke earlier in the evening.

“I thought there was something wrong with my house. So I come out and looked around and came back in and went upstairs and I could see the flames. I could see it out (my) window, so I came down and the upstairs (of the Lang home) was just in fire then,” Hawn said.

He questioned why it took firefighters so long to get to the scene considering the Newington fire station is at the end of the street. He said it took firefighters about 20 minutes to arrive though he concedes there was little they could do given how far the fire had advanced.

(Update Nov. 17, 2015 10 p.m.: According to dispatch times from the South Stormont fire department, it took firefighters seven minutes to respond to the fire.)

“Less than 20 minutes the house, it was just completely (engulfed), I’ve never seen anything burn so fast in my life,” he said. “Did it ever go up quick.”

Hawn felt badly for the couple he described as really good neighbours. “He does my driveway (snowplowing). He does all my lawn for me. I’ve been here 25, 30 years. He’s (Rob) a real good neighbour,” he said.

Hawn believed the house was about 25 or 30 years old.

South Stormont firefighters work to control the flames from this home in Newington, Ont. on Nov. 16, 2015. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)
South Stormont firefighters work to control the flames from this home in Newington, Ont. on Nov. 16, 2015. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

The flames from the tinder-dry wooden structure sprayed hot embers into the night sky as firefighters doused the roofs of other homes with water to keep the flames from spreading.

Two South Stormont firefighters get their hose ready to spray water on a neighbouring home on Nov. 16, 2015 to protect it from a shower of how embers for a house fire across the street. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)
Two South Stormont firefighters get their hose ready to spray water on a neighbouring home on Nov. 16, 2015 to protect it from a shower of hot embers from a house fire across the street. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

A tanker from North Stormont’s Finch station also assisted with bringing water to the scene.

The fire was under control by 1:20 a.m. Tuesday.

There were no reported injuries though Cornwall paramedics were on scene as a precaution.

The South Stormont fire prevention officer will be combing the scene to determine the origin and cause of the fire.

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