Fire levels St. Andrews West home

South Stormont firefighters hose down a fully involved house fire on Haughton Street in St. Andrews West, Ont. on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. A Cornwall firefighter is also credited with searching the home before the fire took over. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

ST. ANDREWS WEST – A quickly spreading fire levelled a family home in the east end of St. Andrews West late Sunday night.

South Stormont firefighters from the St. Andrews West and Long Sault stations were called to the home on Haughton Street just after 11 p.m. Haughton Street is part of an L-shaped dead-end street which connects with Willis Street on the south side of County Road 18. It’s in the village, about 750 meters (2,500 feet) east of Highway 138.

Before township firefighters got there, a Cornwall firefighter – Michael Wheeler – who also lives on the street, entered the single storey house and did a quick search before flames consumed the building.

“He kicked in the door and got in as far as he could. He did make entry and went around the house. He got in for a bit but he didn’t have a breathing apparatus so he had to get out. He’s handing in a report for us,” South Stormont Fire Chief Gilles Crepeau told Cornwall Newswatch.

Two firefighters try to beat back the quickly spreading flames inside a home on Haughton Street in St. Andrews West on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

A neighbour, whose County Road 18 property backs on the affected home, said he couldn’t stand outside his back door because the heat and smoke was so intense. “If anybody’s in there, they weren’t coming out,” the neighbour said.

The flames also caught nearby hydro lines on fire. Hydro One came in about an hour after the fire started to cut the power to the building.

As for the occupants, Fire Chief Crepeau said they are almost certain the family of five is accounted for. They are said to have been away at the time in Bainsville and Ottawa but the chief was awaiting confirmation from the O.P.P.

The cause of the fire is undetermined at this point.

“It (the fire) had a huge head start on us so it’s pretty hard for us to determine anything right now,” Crepeau said.

Cornwall-SDG Paramedic Services was also on scene as a precaution. SD&G O.P.P. were also there as part of the investigation.

Firefighters wrapped up at the scene around 2:45 a.m.

Click on a thumbnail below to see more pictures from the scene.

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