Fire guts South Branch Road home

In this photo provided by Philippe Boyer, flames consume the side of a home on South Branch Road on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. (Philippe Boyer via Newswatch Group)

CORNWALL – A section of South Branch Road from McConnell Avenue to Boundary Road is closed this morning after an overnight fire.

A home along the eastern portion of South Branch Road on the south side of the road was destroyed by fire early this morning (Wednesday).

Cornwall firefighters were called around 1:26 a.m. to the two-storey home at 2380 South Branch Road, across from the Notre Dame Cemetery.

Flames were already licking up the side of the building on both levels when firefighters arrived.

Platoon Chief Jody Dewar told Cornwall Newswatch they called for mutual aid from South Stormont and South Glengarry on their way to the scene because the section of the city is not serviced by fire hydrants.

Firefighters and equipment from South Stormont (St. Andrews West) and three stations from South Glengarry (Lancaster, Martintown, Glen Walter) provided tanker and pumper support.

“When we pulled up on scene, we already had a house fully involved from the crawl space of the second level which had already breached outside,” Dewar said.

In this photo provided by Philippe Boyer, flames consume the side of a home on South Branch Road on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. (Philippe Boyer via Newswatch Group)

No one was home at the time of the fire. Dewar said they were able to get in contact quickly with the owner to find out there was nobody in the building.

“We put water on it but obviously with the temperatures last night it took us a while to actually get it out. It’s still smoldering there right now (8 a.m.). We can’t go inside because the floor from the basement and the main level to the second level have burnt through and some have collapsed a little bit. The roof has burnt right through on the main portion,” Dewar said.

There were no injuries to any firefighters. “It was very cold. We had a few guys slipping on the ice but no injuries. Everyone came home safe which was good. The guys did a great job from the work with the volunteers (firefighters) to the dispatchers, everyone did a great job,” the platoon chief said.

According to Environment Canada, at the time of the fire, the temperature was minus 19 with a minus 23 windchill. Dewar said the main challenge was water supply with the extreme cold and also equipment freezing up.

The city’s fire prevention officer is heading to scene to figure out the initial cause and determine what started the fire.

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