Careless smoking causes $50,000 damage
Oct. 19, 2017 – Careless smoking was the cause of an apartment fire at 165 Ontario St. Wednesday, Oct. 18 that sent one person to hospital for smoke inhalation and forced a brief evacuation of the nine-storey building.
St. Catharines firefighters responded to reports of a fire on the fourth floor of the
apartment building near the former hospital site on Ontario Street around 9 p.m.
Wednesday night. Crews quickly extinguished the fire and determined the cause was
discarded smoking materials the tenant improperly disposed of before leaving the
apartment. The tenant returned home a short time later to find the apartment on fire.
Damage to the unit and building is estimated at $50,000. The unit did not have a
working smoke alarm and Ontario Fire Code charges are pending. Building occupants
were evacuated while firefighters cleared smoke from the building but have returned
Acting Fire Chief Jeff McCormick said all homes need working smoke alarms and
reminds residents never to smoke while using medication or alcohol, never to leave lit
cigarettes unattended and to always butt out in sturdy, fire-resistant containers.
In an unrelated incident earlier in evening on Oct. 18, one person was taken to hospital
with second-degree burns due to a grease fire. Firefighters quickly put out the small fire
at unit 39 in the townhouse complex at 85 Westland St.
The occupants had just finished cooking with grease when the pot ignited. The
occupants removed the pot from the stove and spilled burning grease on themselves
and throughout the kitchen while attempting to throw it outside.
Damage to the home is estimated at $2,500. One person was taken to hospital and
treated for second-degree burns. The second occupant also suffered burns but refused
treatment. The home had working smoke alarms.
The acting fire chief reminds residents to turn off heat and cover pots with lids when
dealing with grease fires. Never use water on a grease fire or try to move the pot.