Arson is suspected in a fire in the 700 block of Westminster early Saturday morning that saw four firefighters and two residents treated for burns.
Westminster Flats caught fire around 3:40am. The building under construction burnt to the ground in no time and spread to the house next door on Maryland and the Raspberry Manor on Westminster Ave.
A garbage fire on nearby Dundurn was also lit but was quickly extinguished.
Shortly after, a garage behind 95 Chestnut was also set on fire, causing extensive damage to it as well as the porch at the back of the residence and to the garage next door, Nellie McClung’s former residence at 97 Chestnut. Firefighters were able to put that fire out.
A group of people attending a 40th birthday party on Westminster Ave. noticed the fire at the corner of Westminster and Maryland and quickly ran to the neighboring houses to alert the tenants.
Mason Kellett, who was at the party, said, “As soon as we saw the flames we just started banging on peoples doors to get them out of their houses.”
Mark, the owner of the Raspberry Manor at 742 Westminster was woken up after he heard the knocking and thought it was a crazy person banging on his door. He quickly got his wife and two children out of the house to the safety of a neighbour’s house down the block.
Aurora, the owner of 744 Westminster, fearfully watched as the fire at her neighbor’s house got closer to hers.
The house to the south of the building under construction on Maryland quickly caught fire as it was only separated by about the width of a sidewalk. The residents, including a person in a wheelchair were quickly and safely evacuated.
Hydro lines also caught fire and power transformers exploded during the blaze, cutting off power to many houses in the area.
Firefighters were still on the scene of the original fire around 6am.
An investigation continues into the cause of the blazes.
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