Man severely burned in Cornwall Sixth Street apartment fire

Cornwall Fire Services Platoon Chief Jody Dewar (red helmet) heads down the driveway of an apartment building at 27-29 Sixth Street West in Cornwall, Ont. on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 and firefighters battle a fire in a unit at the back of the building (not shown). A man is being treated at hospital for severe burns. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – A man is being treated for severe burns at the Cornwall Community Hospital after an apartment fire on Sixth Street West Tuesday afternoon.

Cornwall firefighters, paramedics and police were called to the four-plex at 27-29 Sixth Street West, between Augustus Street and Pitt Street, just after 1 p.m.

Cornwall Fire Services Platoon Chief Jody Dewar told Cornwall Newswatch there was heavy smoke and fire coming from a unit – 29B – at the back of the building. The smoke could be seen as far away as the Benson Center. “When we got here…there was heavy black smoke. Flames had already broken out to the outside (of the building). The tenant was out. We were able to contain it to the one unit.”

Dewar said they brought in an extra fire officer and three firefighters for the fire, known in the business as calling a “second alarm.” There were a total of 14 firefighter on scene.

One of the tenants said that the man in the burnt apartment rushed to their door and told them to call 911. Another person familiar with the situation said the man had tried to go back into the burning apartment to save his dog.

Empty pet carriers sit on the edge of the street in Cornwall, Ont. on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 after a fire in an apartment building across the street at 27-29 Sixth Street West. A man was severely burned in the fire. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

Cornwall-SDG Paramedic Services Platoon Commander Leighton Woods told Cornwall Newswatch one person was assessed and treated by paramedics before they were taken by ambulance to CCH. Woods said the victim’s injuries were severe but non-life threatening.

There’s no immediate word on the condition of any animals that were in the building. A number of the tenants had empty pet carriers sitting on the curb across the street.

Dewar says the 29B unit has extensive fire and smoke damage but the firefighters did a great job keeping the flames from spreading to other units in the four-plex.

Firefighters were dealing with hot spots in the burned apartment before it was officially under control around 3 p.m. “The guys did a great job. They worked hard to knock it down.”

The fire prevention office will be conducting an investigation to determine the cause.

Dewar also noted that all the units in the building had working smoke alarms.

The building was the scene of a fire in 2015 where a man was pulled from an apartment unit and later died at hospital. A neighbour says there have been at least four fires at the complex over a number of years.