Fire at 'boarding house' sends people fleeing to roof
Sean Irvine, CTV London
Published Wednesday, December 19, 2018 10:16AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 19, 2018 12:23PM EST
Residents fled to the roof and used a window to escape a fire Wednesday that is being investigated as suspicious in nature.
Two people were hurt and transported to hospital after the mid-morning blaze at a multi-unit century home in central London, Ont.
The scene played out over a frantic five minutes, just moments after 9 a.m.
Several witnesses rushed to the scene on St. Andrew Street, just east of Wharncliffe Road North, near Oxford Street.
“The side of the house was engulfed in flames,“ Jim McFadden tells CTV News. He was driving down Oxford Street when he saw smoke one street away.
Once at the burning home, he paired up with another passerby, Matt Owens. They then witnessed a dramatic scene playing out.
“I see a woman in a second floor window, just screaming, and a person at the bottom telling her to get out," Owens says.
The woman eventually jumped, which resulted, McFadden says, in “bad break” of her leg. He and Owens helped carry her to safety.
Firefighters arrived on scene just four minutes after the initial call.
Deputy Fire Chief Jack Burt says, “When crews arrived there were a couple of people on the roof, and one on the ground. Everybody was out of the building."
Multiple fire crews worked to search the building as the flames and smoke were brought under control.
“This very easily could have been a tragedy”, Burt adds.
In 2015, there was another fire at the same property that caused over $120,000 in damage.
One tenant, who is among those now displaced, said he awoke to the sounds of screaming and reports of a second floor exit being blocked.
McFadden tells CTV News, “There was a mattress fire and people trying to get out through that exit.”
London police say an investigation will continue in cooperation with the London Fire Department and Fire Marshal's Office.