Fire displaces St. Catharines residents

·2 min read

Four roommates have been displaced from their downtown St. Catharines home following a fire that broke out on Tuesday afternoon.

The 911 call came in at 4:23 p.m. from a neighbour saying smoke was coming from the rooming house at 39 Lake St.

One of the tenants of the four-bedroom house, who asked not to be identified, said he smelled something burning, saw black smoke coming from one of the rooms, and grabbed some essentials before running from the house into the freezing winter air.

“It was a mattress that was on fire due to careless smoking,” said St. Catharines Fire Services deputy chief, Dave Upper, during a Wednesday phone call.

Two of the four tenants were home at the time of the fire. Both got out safely on their own. The tenant renting the room where the fire started wasn’t home at the time, Upper confirmed.

Within minutes, five trucks with 19 firefighters from four stations arrived and had the fire quenched.

“It’s very fortunate that there were no injuries,” Upper said.

Red Cross provided temporary shelter for two tenants, one had an alternate place to go, but Upper wasn’t sure what became of the remaining tenant.

Upper said the owner of the rooming house does have other properties and is looking to arrange for alternate living arrangements in the interim.

Firefighters used thermal cameras to check behind walls for fire spread, but were “very confident” the fire had been confined to the mattress.

A fire prevention officer from the service is investigating the incident to officially determine the fire’s origin and cause and check the house for compliance with fire codes.

Upper said no charges are being laid, and suggested a damage estimate of $50,000.

Jordan Snobelen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara this Week