Fire displaces some tenants of Fourth Street triplex

Cornwall firefighters speak with tenants of a Fourth Street West triplex on Friday, June 1, 2018 as smoke curls from the eaves at the back of one unit. The acting platoon chief says they were able to contain the damage to one unit. No one was injured. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – Several tenants and their pets in a Cornwall triplex managed to escape injury after a fire in an upstairs apartment.

But some of those residents may be staying somewhere else tonight.

The fire was reported around 7:15 p.m. and Cornwall firefighters arrived to smoke coming from the eaves at the back of the building at 140 Fourth Street West.

Acting Platoon Chief Bill Lalonde told Cornwall Newswatch it appears that something caught fire on a wall in the second storey unit.

“I can’t be 100 per cent sure exactly where the fire originated just yet. It looks like it started from inside the apartment on the wall, there was something there along the wall. That’s just my preliminary findings,” Lalonde said.

He said their immediate concern was the fire spreading quickly given the smoke coming out of the eaves. “When we see that…our concern is if it gets into the attic it can travel across very fast from one side to the front and we can lose the whole building very quickly that way,” the acting platoon chief explained.

Smoke curls from the eaves of a Fourth Street West triplex on Friday, June 1, 2018. A preliminary investigation shows the fire started somewhere on a wall inside the apartment unit. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

Firefighters worked at a feverish pace with ladders to get up on top of the building and then used saws and axes to cut into the roof, ripping out the insulation.

“The boys worked very hard in this heat. It’s unbelievable how hard they worked in this heat. With the amount of guys that we had on scene here, they did an excellent job. I’m very pleased with them,” Lalonde said. The temperature at the time was 29 Celsius, but with the humidity it felt like 36 degrees.

Lalonde said everyone got out safely and there were no reported injuries. “That’s the good thing. Nobody got hurt.”

A tenant holds her cat as firefighters move in to fight a Fourth Street West triplex fire on Friday, June 1, 2018. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

There were a number of pets in the building including three cats. “It didn’t look like anybody lost any animals at this time. We haven’t accounted for them all yet but we think one or two may have run off.” Firefighters could be seen reuniting some felines with their owners.

Damage was contained to the roof and the one apartment unit and doesn’t appear to have affected the other units or the tenants’ belongings in those units, Lalonde said.

The Red Cross has been notified in order to help some of the affected tenants if they need it.

A section of Fourth Street West between York Street and Augustus Street was closed during the fire but has reopened.

Cornwall firefighters cut into the roof of a Fourth Street West apartment building on Friday, June 1, 2018 after a fire started in one of the units. Firefighters also worked against the extreme heat where temperatures were reaching the high 30s with the humidity. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)
A Cornwall firefighter reunites tenant and cat following a fire at a Fourth Street West triplex on Friday, June 1, 2018. Acting Platoon Chief Bill Lalonde believes most of the pets are accounted for, though it’s believed a couple may have run away. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)