Jeff Heuchert, Gazette staff
Tenants of a north-end apartment building had to be evacuated for a couple of hours Tuesday night while firefighters responded to a blaze in one of the units.
The Stratford Fire Department received a call from a resident at 59 Campbell Ct. at around 9:10 p.m. who reported smoke in the hallway.
Deputy fire chief Michael Gornyiczki said firefighters from both stations responded and quickly located and extinguished the fire in a third-floor unit.
City transit buses were called in to provide shelter for the displaced tenants while firefighters secured the unit and inspected the building to ensure flames had not spread through the walls or floors. Victim Services was also called to respond to any tenants who were uncomfortable returning to their rooms.
According to Gornyiczki, the fire started in one of the bedrooms and is estimated to have caused $50,000 in damage – all of which was contained to the one unit.
“At this point the fire is still under investigation,” he said Wednesday, “but it does not appear to be suspicious.”
The tenants of the damaged unit were not home at the time of the fire and had yet to return by the time firefighters left the scene at around 11:45 p.m.
Gornyiczki said the incident is an good reminder about the importance of having working smoke alarms on every storey and outside all sleeping areas in residential dwellings.
Apartment complexes in Ontario must have smoke alarms – hard-wired or battery-operated – in every unit and on every level, so that if smoke reaches the hallway a detector will trigger the building’s fire alarm to notify all residents.
In May, the Stratford Fire Department will again be running its home fire safety program, offering free inspections to make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working and to educate residents about preventative measures and having a fire escape plan.