St. Felix Street duplex fire started by open flame

A Cornwall firefighter sprays water into the downstairs unit of a duplex on St. Felix Street in Cornwall, Ont. Friday, July 25, 2017. The fire chief says it was started by some sort of open flame in the downstairs unit. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – A fire that partially gutted a duplex on St. Felix Street on Friday was started by some sort of open flame in a downstairs unit.

“That fire was caused by human intervention,” Cornwall Fire Chief Pierre Voisine told Cornwall Newswatch. “It seemed to have started by a candle or some sort of open flame,” Voisine said.

Firefighters arrived around 12:15 p.m. Friday in the 600 block of St. Felix to flames shooting out of a downstairs window, melting the siding and licking the window of an upstairs unit.

One person, who was asleep in that upstairs apartment, was able to escape after being woken up by a Good Samaritan.

Fire Chief Voisine said the fire will probably be ruled accidental, but it still needs to be cleared by the Cornwall Community Police Service to make sure there was no criminal intent.

“The guys did a really good job preventing the fire extension to the second unit. But there is, naturally, some damage from water and smoke. The fire was contained to that bottom unit,” he said.

There were no injuries or pets harmed in the fire.

The chief said the building owner had insurance but he was not sure whether the tenants had insurance.

“I’ll be honest, in the city here, that is something (tenant’s insurance) most people don’t seem to have. Although the building owner’s insured, there are no provisions for the tenants to actually protect their stuff,” he said.