SCOTT ROSTS/Niagara This Week
ST. CATHARINES – Fire officials say a St. Catharines family is lucky to be alive, after a fire ripped through their home early Wednesday morning.
St. Catharines Fire Chief Mark Mehlenbacher said the home, located at 23 Densgrove Dr. in the city’s north end, had no working smoke alarms. The four occupants, a couple and their two children, barely made it out of the fire, he said.
“They were lucky to escape with their lives,” said Mehlenbacher. “They barely got to the front door.”
Emergency officials were called to the home shortly after midnight on Wednesday morning. Upon arrival, the couple and their children, ages nine and 12, had escaped their home, which was fully engulfed in flames.
“The fire started in the basement, and by the time they realized there was a fire, it was well involved with lots of toxic smoke,” said Mehlenbacher. “They’re lucky they got out.”
All four occupants were taken to St. Catharines General Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. The two children were treated and released within a couple of hours, while the parents had remained in hospital for treatment as of Wednesday morning, Mehlenbacher said.
The fire caused at least $100,000 in damage, he said. The overall structure of the home, he said, is in fairly good condition, although the damage from the smoke and fire to the interior was “fairly extensive.”
The Ontario Fire Marshall’s office, he said, is currently on scene and investigating with staff from the city’s fire prevention office. Until their investigation is complete, he said, he is not able to comment on the possible cause of the fire, although he said the origin was likely the basement.
The result of the fire investigation may also lead to charges. Mehlenbacher said that because there were no working smoke alarms at the time of the fire, they will decide on whether or not charges may be laid once the fire investigation is complete.
Mehlenbacher said a smoke alarm on the upstairs level of the home was disabled. Early in the investigation, he said, fire officials had not found any type of evidence that there was a smoke alarm on the lower level of the home.
“It’s completely incomprehensible,” said Mehlenbacher. “People need to think of their loved ones. It’s a $10 smoke alarm that will make a difference. There should be no question.”
Mehlenbacher said the unfortunate incident should serve as a reminder viagra super active for all residents to take stock and check their own smoke alarms, as well as prepare for a “fire-safe holiday season.” While fire safety is an around the clock priority, he said “there are a lot of distractions in the holiday season, and we have to be extra vigilant.”
“I’ve been fire chief for 14 years now, and every year we have the same unfortunate situation,” he said. “I urge all residents to take time to inspect their smoke alarms and ensure they’re working properly.”
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