Apartment fire on Alice Street; man climbs down balcony to escape flames

Firefighters spray water into an upstairs window of an apartment building on Alice Street in Cornwall, Ont. Monday, May 8, 2017. A tenant was able to make an escape by climbing down the balcony. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – A man made a dramatic escape Monday night after fire broke out in an upstairs apartment in Cornwall’s east end.

Firefighters and police were called around 11 p.m. to 301 Alice Street – a red brick four-plex on the northwest corner of Alice and Walton Streets.

“We had a fire on the second floor here. The occupant of the building managed to get out and actually got down from the balcony with some assistance from his neighbour down below,” Platoon Chief Rob Cotnam told Cornwall Newswatch.

Cotnam said they were able to contain the fire to the one unit. “(There’s) extensive smoke and heavy fire damage in the one unit and smoke damage throughout the whole building,” Cotnam said.

Once the fire was quickly under control, firefighters were on the roof pulling back material to make sure any hot spots were out.

While the two units were occupied, there was no one in the other two units, which were under renovation.

The fire victim stayed in the fire truck until the Cornwall-SDG Paramedic Service was able to get to the scene. He was taken to Cornwall hospital to be assessed.

Paramedics and firefighters cover a man with a blanket after a fire at an apartment building on Alice Street in Cornwall, Ont. Monday, May 8, 2017. The tenant of the upstairs unit was able to escape by climbing down the balcony. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

Cotnam said a firefighting crew was being kept on fire watch overnight because the building next door is really close to the affected building. The adjacent building (206 Walton Street) also had a fire last month in a smoking-related blaze.

The cause of this latest fire is not known. An investigator from the fire prevention office will be on the scene at daybreak.

The Cornwall Command Center was holding the scene overnight.

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