Overnight fire heavily damages Cornwall triplex

A fire truck is parked in Carleton Guy Lane outside a triplex that caught fire on Saturday, July 14, 2018. The overnight fire caused extensive damage to the back of the building. Acting Platoon Chief John Irwin says everyone managed to get out without injury. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – A triplex sustained heavy damage after fire ripped through the back of the building early Saturday morning, possibly started by some sort of explosion.

Cornwall firefighters, paramedics and police were called to 806 Carleton Guy Lane just after 1 a.m. Saturday. The two-storey triplex is tucked in between Carleton Street and Guy Street and the first building accessed off Montreal Road.

Several people on Carleton Street and at the La Maison Tavern said they heard an explosion before flames shot to the top of the building. “I was just sitting on the patio and then, boom! (The sound) was at least as much as one of the bigger fireworks,” one man said.

Shawn Michaud lives in the building. He told Cornwall Newswatch he went to try and save his neighbour – who ended up not being home – after finding out the building was on fire.

“Whenever I came downstairs, all I seen was (the fire) coming up. So I ran back up and broke the other neighbour’s window because he was there with his kid earlier. But he wasn’t there, thank God. Whenever I went into this guy’s house to see if he was there with his kid, the smoke went right around me and had a hard time finding my way back out and things started exploding and I’m like, well I got to get out of here!” Michaud said.

Michaud doesn’t believe any of the tenants had renter’s insurance.

Firefighters look for hot spots inside the back of a triplex at 806 Carleton Guy Lane on Saturday, July 14, 2018. Several witnesses heard an explosion in the moments before the fire. Everyone escaped unharmed. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

A man living on Carleton Street said he woke up around 1:15 a.m. to people banging on his door. He said the embers from the fire were rising above the back of the triplex before he evacuated. Firefighters were able to keep the flames away from neighbouring buildings.

“There was a fair amount of smoke when we rolled up on scene. Most of the fire at that time seemed to be on the exterior but now that we’ve been digging through, we’ve found that it’s gotten inside between the two floors,” Acting Platoon Chief John Irwin told Cornwall Newswatch.

Speaking with CNW around 2:45 a.m., Irwin believed his men would be on the scene most of the night making sure the fire didn’t spread.

“It looks like it’s between the first and second floor right now, possibly started from the exterior. So were just working at it, trying to extinguish it, looking for any extension at this point,” Irwin said.

“Everybody’s out of the building. Everybody is safe, accounted for,” Irwin said. He believes there were three people inside the building at the time of the fire.

Irwin said he heard about the reports of an explosion but, at this point, he couldn’t confirm it.

There were no injuries.

An investigation will likely start at daybreak.