INGLESIDE – An undetermined number of animals have died in an Ingleside house fire Wednesday night.
Around 30 South Stormont firefighters from the Ingleside, Long Sault and Newington stations were called to the single-storey home at 38 Santa Cruz Drive around 9:30 p.m.
“There has been quite a few animals that perished. I’m not sure what the amount is but I believe the homeowner was an animal lover,” Fire Chief Gilles Crepeau told Cornwall Newswatch.
Firefighters could be seen inspecting cages along one wall inside the attached garage. It’s believed there may have been around 60 cats in the building at the time of the fire.
Meantime, family members gathered on a neighbour’s lawn and had up to 10 cat carriers, giving cats food and water, before they were loaded into a minivan.
The house has been identified through Facebook posts as a cat shelter – the Knot Furgotten Cat Rescue – though officials could not confirm it was a shelter at the time of the fire.
The fire was out by around 11:30 p.m. after firefighters cut holes in the roof to put out all the hot spots.
Township firefighters were keeping an overnight watch with an investigation by the fire prevention office expected to start Thursday morning.
SD&G O.P.P. and Cornwall-SDG Paramedic Services were also on scene Wednesday night as a precaution.
“Very preliminary” indications are the fire started in the kitchen. Chief Crepeau said one person was home at the time of the fire and was alerted by a smoke detector and got out safely. There were no human injuries.
The Ontario Fire Marshal has also been notified though it won’t be known until later today whether they will attend the scene.
The Red Cross has been contacted to help the family of four.