Four people unaccounted for after house fire

·2 min read

Four people remained unaccounted for after a house fire in North Grenville Sunday evening.

Ontario Provincial Police investigators were still looking for answers as of late Monday morning, but were hampered by conditions at the scene.

"We're just waiting on the Fire Marshal," said Acting Sgt. Annie Collins, adding members of the OPP's Forensic Identification Unit were at the scene.

"We can't really move forward with anything right now because obviously there's a lot of guesswork."

Grenville County OPP officers were called at 6:15 p.m. Sunday, to help North Grenville firefighters with a fully-engulfed house fire at 1308 Stone Road in Oxford Mills.

"Four people are currently unaccounted for," police reported.

Collins had few details about the four people whose whereabouts remained unknown, but said they are all adults.

The home belonged to an older couple, said Collins, but there was no way of knowing if anyone was inside at the time of the fire.

"We only have the vehicles outside the house to go by as well," she said.

"We can't go in it right now. It's so destroyed, completely."

While the forensic identification unit was at the scene to investigate the fire, the cause had not been determined and the Office of the Fire Marshal was to lead the probe.

Collins hoped for more answers to emerge over the course of the day.

North Grenville Fire Chief John Okum, speaking later Monday from the scene of the fire, said the call came in Sunday around 6 p.m.

"It was called in by a passerby who witnessed the flames,” said Okum.

There were three vehicles on the property, one of which was heavily damaged by the fire while the other two suffered heat radiation damage, added the chief.

By the time a full complement of North Grenville volunteer firefighters arrived at the scene, the structure was completely engulfed in flames, according to the fire department.

They called for mutual aid for a tanker truck from the Merrickville Fire Department, which responded.

"Our water tanker and crew and myself, went out for mutual aid and we were there for three hours," said Merrickville Fire Chief Brad Cole.

By the time the Merrickville crew arrived, the firefighters on the scene were waging a defensive attack on the blaze, according to Cole.

In all it took several hours fully to extinguish the conflagration.

"The structure is a complete loss. It was a log style home, but all that's left are some logs – a skeleton if you will," said Okum.

Ronald Zajac and Heddy Sorour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times