Forensics back at Montreal-Alice fire site

A Cornwall officer with the forensics unit looks through the rubble of what used to be the entrance to an eight-plex apartment building at the corner of Montreal Road and Alice Street on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. Police are looking for any video shot by bystanders in the moments before the fire department got to the scene. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

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CORNWALL – A forensics team from the Cornwall Community Police Service was back on the scene Wednesday afternoon of a large fire on Montreal Road.

The fire six weeks ago (July 26) started in an eight-plex apartment building and the billowing orange flames quickly spread to a neighbouring furniture store, Poirier Furniture, and another apartment complex.

The heat and the billowing balls of orange flame melted siding on at least three other buildings across the street on Alice Street and Montreal Road.

On Wednesday (Sept. 5), two investigators with trowels and a rake were sifting through debris and were concentrating in an area that used to be the front entrance of a eight-plex apartment on the southeast corner of the intersection.

The Cornwall Community Police Service declined Cornwall Newswatch’s request for an interview with the investigating officer.

But in an emailed statement, spokesman Stephanie MacRae said the fire is still “suspicious” and police and fire are “working collaboratively” on the investigation.

“Multiple witnesses have been spoken to, but police are still seeking any witnesses who have video footage of the first five minutes of the fire,” she wrote.

That footage can be sent to Const. Jeff MacDonell with the forensic identification unit at

Thirty-one people lost their home in the fire.

Two officers with the Cornwall Community Police Service forensics unit work at the scene of a suspicious fire on Montreal Road on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. The investigators were concentrating in an area that used to be the front doorstep of an eight-plex apartment building. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)