Residents displaced after Fourth Street fire in apartment wall

Neighbours watch as a fire runs up the inside of a wall of a duplex on Fourth Street West in Cornwall, Ont. on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. The fire displaced the tenants in both apartments. Firefighters were able to catch the fire before it got into the attic. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL — City firefighters will keep watch overnight Tuesday after a fire in the wall of a duplex on Fourth Street West, a couple of blocks west of Cumberland.

Firefighters, armed with chainsaws and pike poles, had to fight a fire in the building at 448 Fourth Street West just before 9 p.m.

“The guys did a lot of ripping and tearing because it’s an older house…and with a lot of work we got it,” Acting Platoon Chief Kelly Michaud told CNW. “The guy’s did an excellent job because I figured we would still be fighting it now (10:06 p.m.),” he said.

An investigator from the Cornwall Fire Department’s fire prevention office will be on the scene Wednesday morning, Michaud said.

A downstairs tenant told Cornwall Newswatch everyone in the building was able to get out safely, which included a number of pets.

The tenants in the upstairs apartment were first alerted to some smoke inside and came downstairs and banged on his door, the tenant said.

The duplex had a “For Sale” sign on the front lawn and the tenant, who believes it’s a 1920s building, thought the property had been on the market for some time.

Cornwall Electric was also called in to shut off the power to the home.

There’s a lot of damage to the exterior of the building from ripping down the siding and soffit, Acting Platoon Chief Michaud explained.

The tenants have been displaced but have places to stay, he said.

Paramedics and police were also on scene as a precaution and to control traffic.

Smoke curls from under a piece of siding on this Fourth Street West duplex as a Cornwall firefighter rips the building material off with a pike pole. There is some considerable damage to the outside the building as firefighters had to tear into the structure to keep the fire from getting to the attic. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)