Fire destroys home in Milltown
One man is homeless and his three cats are presumed dead following a house fire Monday which destroyed a two-story residence on Eaton Street.
Approximately 50 firefighters from four area fire departments fought the persistent blaze for about four hours said St. Stephen Fire Chief Jeff Richardson.
An excavator was brought in to level the charred remains of the structure.
Richardson said the cause of the fire was accidental, but didn’t elaborate. He said the man who escaped the blaze was taken to hospital as a precaution, but was released. The fire was reported shortly before 7 a.m. by a neighbour.
Disaster volunteers with the Canadian Red Cross have assisted the man with emergency lodging, plus food and clothing purchases.
The fire chief said firefighters did not enter the burning building because it wasn’t safe for them to make entry. He said the contents of the rooms “were closing in around them” and they decided in the interest of safety not to fight the fire in the home’s interior.
“It went up fast,” said Richardson. He said he believed the wood frame structure was older, perhaps built in the “cotton mill era” of St. Stephen. The mill operated from the 1800s to 1957.
No one was injured in fighting the blaze. The St. Stephen firefighters were assisted by firefighters from Calais, Moores Mills and Oak Bay.
With the fast approaching Christmas season, Richardson took the opportunity to offer some fire safety advice to homeowners regarding decorations, lights, candles and Christmas trees.
The main thing, said Richardson, is to “remain vigilant.”
He urged homeowners to maintain their decoration lights in good repair, turn off lights on a Christmas tree and elsewhere before they go to bed, not to leave burning candles unattended, make sure fresh cut trees are kept watered and to keep combustibles away from heat sources.