April 19 blaze causes approximately $1 million in damages
LISTOWEL – Three modular homes were ravaged by a quick-spreading blaze in The Village in Listowel’s east end on Monday night, but it could have been much worse had it not been for the lightning quick response of the North Perth Fire Department (NPFD).
The NPFD was dispatched to the scene at approximately 8:30 p.m. on April 19, and responders immediately had their hands full with the tight confines of the area, coupled with the close proximity of the structures and gusting winds. The cause of the initial fire in the first home is unknown as of press time and the investigation is ongoing; the building was completely destroyed. The fire quickly spread to the two adjacent homes, with North Perth Fire Chief Ed Smith commenting that they will also likely be considered write-offs due to the extreme damage from flame and smoke.
“It’s still an ongoing investigation into the cause,” said Smith on April 20, adding that the main response crew returned to the hall around 2:30 a.m. Fire personnel remained at the scene well into Tuesday morning.
All told, damages are estimated to be approximately $1 million. One person was taken to hospital with minor injuries.
All three stations of the NPFD responded to the call, with the Minto Fire Department providing tanker support. Five tankers were needed to fight the blaze, as The Village does not have a fire hydrant network.
“We were fortunate to stop it,” said Smith. “It was a very difficult call; we had to transport all of our water. The Village has very tight corners.”
Smith added that the Office of the Fire Marshal was notified but will not be investigating the incident.
The Perth County Ontario Provincial Police also reported that upon arriving at the scene, two firefighters were assaulted by a resident present at the initial fire’s location. A 50-year-old individual was subsequently charged with assault.
“I haven’t had major discussions with my people other than to check to see that they weren’t injured, but apparently there was an altercation upon arrival,” said Smith. “It certainly adds insult to injury.”
Smith praised the work of his personnel for their quick and efficient response to an incident that could have easily escalated had it not been for their skill in knocking down the fire.
“They worked hard and did a tremendous job,” he said. “These types of structures are very difficult when the fire gets up into the roofs of them. There’s no room to work in them because their roof line is so low to the ceiling. They basically had to go in and start tearing the ceilings down to get into it.
“It was a difficult fire and the guys and girls had to really work to get it stopped, and stop the progress of it. Hats off to them.”