Residents forced from Petrolia apartment after fire

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No one injured in blaze

An emergency shelter has been set up at the Greenwood Recreation Centre after a fire at an apartment building on Greenfield St.

Around 3 this morning, Petrolia/North Enniskillen firefighters were called to the apartment building – neighbours saw fire coming from the roof.

Chief Jay Arns says while the cause is under investigation, it appears the fire started at on the outside of the building.

“There were was construction going on at the building and there were materials stored onsite and that’s in the area of origin.”

“It had started inside the building but crews knocked it down quickly,” he says.

Arns says the fire was contained to the outside of the building and two storage rooms.

Many of the residents had evacuated the building by the time firefighters arrived after hearing the alarms go off.

“The building was fully charged with smoke. You couldn’t see upstairs or downstairs,” says Arns.

Two residents, he said, couldn’t find their way through the thick smoke, so they went out on their balconies where firefighters helped them down with ladders.

“It did affect the main entries…the fire was in the ceiling above the exit (on Greenfield St) so it cut off an exit for them, so they just went to their balconies and we rescued them off the balconies,” said Arns.

While the investigation continues, the residents are staying at the Greenwood Recreation Centre. The town’s SORT team has set up cots the 20 residents and their pets. They’re providing food and water as the people wait to be returned to their homes. The Red Cross and the OPP were also involved in the evacuation.

Arns says the Petrolia department will take some time today to pinpoint the cause of the fire. Clean up crews are already on site trying to clear the smoke. The chief said people should be able to return home sometime today.

“This type of fire, because its inside a residential unit, it’s usually 24 hours, but in this case, once the air quality is better we can let people back in side…later this afternoon.”