Smoking likely cause of Walton Street fire

The charred remains of an upper floor apartment on Walton Street in Cornwall, Ont. are soaked by the rain on Thursday, April 6, 2017. No one was injured in the fire in the four-plex, which has been ruled accidental. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – A fire investigation has concluded that smoking was the likely cause of a multi-unit apartment building fire last week.

The fire at 206 Walton Street, near the intersection of Alice Street, started Wednesday morning in an upper floor unit. The flames started spreading to the roof but firefighters were able to quickly get an upper hand.

Fire Chief Pierre Voisine told Cornwall Newswatch the fire will be ruled accidental “likely due to the improper use of smoking materials.”

“People need to remember that smoking doesn’t only affect their individual health, but potentially the lives of others living in the next apartment,” the chief said.

Several tenants were displaced by the fire.

Smoking fires task force rebooted

With this latest development, the chief said they will be “re-energizing” their task force with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit in an effort to deter smoking-related fires.

The hotline allows people to call in and report high fire risk smoking behaviour and firefighters will visit and counsel them on being safe.

The number is 613-930-7408 and is available 24-7.

The hotline was started in 2015 after the city dealt with 14 fires in the first six months of that year. One half of those were related to smoking.