For the second time in less than a year, more than 20 people have been displaced from their homes due to a fire in the town of Woodstock, N.B.
Woodstock Fire Chief Ricky Nicholson said at least 23 people were displaced after a fire broke out at a 12-unit apartment building. He said the fire happened at 7 a.m. on Sunday at 681 Main Street.
Nicholson said the blaze started in a ground-floor unit of the three-storey building. He said he was the first one at the scene and that it took 13 firefighters, two pumpers and an equipment vehicle to knock down the fire.
“Smoke overtook us very quickly and… until my other guys arrived with the Scott Air-Paks on, we couldn’t continue doing an evacuation,” Nicholson said.
He said all tenants were accounted for within 40 minutes and that one person – who lived in the unit where the fire started – was taken to hospital for smoke inhalation and minor burns. Nicholson said the male is now out of the hospital.
“We saved a lot of pets and the Red Cross was very helpful yesterday morning on a long weekend,” Nicholson said.
He said two of the units in the building were vacant.
In a news release from the Red Cross, spokesperson Dan Bedell said disaster volunteers arranged emergency lodging, clothing and food purchases and provided other support to four children and 11 adults.
Bedell said the Red Cross also arranged emergency clothing purchases for a tenant now staying with relatives.
He said there were also four residents who declined assistance.
According to Nicholson, the investigation into what caused the fire is ongoing.
“We’re not expecting foul play or anything, but we’re just covering all our tracks and doing a very thorough investigation,” Nicholson said.
He said there was water and smoke damage and that it could be a while before tenants are able to reside in the building.
Nicholson said it’s important for people living in any town or city to ensure smoke alarms are working.
“The important thing is for all the tenants within the town, or Fredericton, no matter where you live, to make sure that if you don’t have a working smoke detector please inform the fire department,” he said.
Nicholson said fire departments in any vicinity can communicate with landlords to make sure any non-working smoke alarms are immediately repaired.
The fire comes less than a year after the historic Rose Building, located half a block away, caught fire in July 2016.