Firefighters battle blaze in vacant apartment building in Saint John
Fire crews battled a blaze that ripped through an apartment building Wednesday morning in the north end of Saint John, N.B.
Firefighters responded to the blaze on Metcalf Street at approximately 6 a.m., after reports of smoke coming from the building.
Fire officials say heavy smoke and fire were billowing from the rear of the building. Crews took a defensive stand to fight the fire.
“Anytime you take a defensive position the fire will burn longer”, said Saint John Fire Chief Kevin Clifford. “”You’ll be safer and we’re very confident this fire won’t extend into the neighbourhood”.
The apartment building was vacant at the time of the fire.
At least one other building in the area was evacuated as a precaution, though it’s unlikely the fire will spread.
Shannon Caldwell lives in the building next door and says the first thing she heard was water.
“I assumed there was a water leak in the building so I got out and looked out my kitchen window and there was about fifteen firefighters within about five feet of my kitchen window fighting the fire,” Caldwell said.
There is concern in the community surrounding fires in vacant buildings.
“This is I think the third experience I’ve had within a block radius of one of these abandoned buildings being burned,” Caldwell explained.
“I have a twelve year old daughter…it’s very nerve wracking for sure”
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Clifford admits some buildings need to come down but a process has to be followed.
“We’re as aggressive as any other municipality in trying to take those down,” he said.
“The fact that we’re the oldest incorporated city lends itself to the fact that we might have older buildings.”
Clifford says a decision will likely come later today on whether the remaining parts of the vacant building will be demolished.
Police and fire investigators are looking into a possible cause of the blaze.
— With files from Andrew Cromwell
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