Montreal Road weekend fire; investigators interviewing tenants

Workers finish boarding up an apartment complex Monday, Aug. 22, 2016 after a weekend fire. All the tenants in the nine unit complex have been displaced, with some staying at Nav Center. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – Fire investigators will be interviewing more tenants Tuesday as they continue their probe into a weekend fire on Montreal Road.

Firefighters battled the flames Saturday night at a nine-plex apartment building at 701 Montreal Road, on the southeast corner of the intersection with Alice Street.

“When crews arrived we had fire inside the upstairs apartment, so we’re still determining exactly where the fire originated and what the cause was,” Fire Chief Pierre Voisine told Cornwall Newswatch Monday.

“We have an idea but pending the interviews that will help us nail it down. We are quite confident we know but we want to finish up the interviews just to clarify that,” he said, adding that there have been conflicting reports of what exactly took place.

Voisine said the damages are extensive. “The top floor there was gutted so there was extensive damage.”

The chief was asked whether reports on social media suggesting the lighting of a barbecue on the balcony started the fire. “Yeah, we’re not so sure that’s what occurred,” Voisine said.

One firefighter was injured when he burned his hand, the chief said.

One cat died in the fire while a few more were rescued and returned to their owners, Voisine said.

Neighbours told CNW Monday afternoon a second cat was unaccounted for and died in the fire.

The Cornwall branch of the Canadian Red Cross is helping the displaced tenants – at least seven of them – from the nine apartments, some of whom are being housed at Nav Center.