Cornwall strip mall fire likely caused by smoking

A charred air conditioner and damaged siding is what's left after a fire on the deck of a strip mall Friday, July 8, 2016 in Cornwall Ont. The fire was likely caused by smoking. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – A discarded cigarette is the likely cause of a deck fire Friday, which damaged part of a Cornwall strip mall.

Cornwall firefighters were called to the back of the City Center shopping plaza at 812 Pitt Street (south of Ninth Street) around 3:20 p.m. after someone spotted the fire and called 911.

“The most probable cause is improper discarding of smoking material, which in turn caused the fire to the air conditioner,” Platoon Chief Steven O’Reilly told Cornwall Newswatch.

There was a can on the back deck to discard cigarettes, O’Reilly explained.

Firefighters were able to quickly snuff out the flames, limiting damage to the siding and the composite wood deck.

“The boys did a good job to get to it right away, and get it out before it breached inside, so all the damage is on the outside,” O’Reilly told CNW.

There were no injuries, however Cornwall paramedics showed up on scene as a precaution.

In June 2015, Fire Chief Pierre Voisine launched a task force and a hotline to deal with the “flagrant amount” of smoking-related fires, which killed four people last year.

A Cornwall firefighter tears away part of a deck and siding on the back of a strip mall Friday, July 8, 2016 after a fire, likely caused by smoking. The damage was contained to the outside of the City Center at 812 Pitt Street. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)
A Cornwall firefighter tears away part of a deck and siding on the back of a strip mall Friday, July 8, 2016 after a fire, likely caused by smoking. The damage was contained to the outside of the City Center at 812 Pitt Street. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)
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