Fire investigators believe that a candle is the probable cause of the mid-morning fire at 19 Grosbeak Rd. in Elmira on Tuesday that resulted in more then $200,000 in damage to the semi-detached house.
Woolwich fire chief Rick Pedersen said the call initially came in as a shed fire around 9:45 a.m. When four Elmira units arrived on scene, however, they found the fire had spread to the home itself.
“(We) requested Floradale to respond very shortly after, when it proceeded to get worse,” Pedersen said.
The shed contained volatile substances such as gasoline, propane, and aerosol cans, which likely led to the fire spreading as quickly as it did, he said. Damage to the home and contents was pegged at $220,000.
It took crews about an hour to extinguish the blaze. The attached property, 17 Grosbeak Rd., suffered only smoke damage and some damage to the roof.
“The cinderblock firewall saved that property,” said Pedersen.
The home is uninhabitable, with the back portion of the property most likely slated for demolition, he added.
Dozens of spectators gathered from all around the neighbourhood as about 30 firefighters were on scene.
The thick column of black smoke was visible across town.
Deputy chief Dale Martin said that this fire emphasizes that homeowners should take extra precautions to store flammable materials properly to avoid any potential danger to themselves or their property.
“Propane should be stored outside, and gasoline should be stored in a metal container,” he said. “The big thing is to be wise as to where you store it; it can’t be stored close to any flammables or any source of ignition.”
Martin also stressed the importance of having smoke detectors on every level of the home, adding they should be tested regularly.
“That’s what we preach, and they do save lives.”