New Brunswick

Fire rips through vacant apartment building in Saint John

Firefighters in Saint John have contained a fire that broke out at a six-unit apartment building in the city's north end Wednesday morning.

An early investigation suggests the fire in the north end was set deliberately

Firefighters in Saint John tried to keep the flames from spreading to adjacent buildings. (Julia Wright/CBC)

Firefighters in Saint John have contained a fire that broke out at a six-unit apartment building in the city's north end Wednesday morning. 

No one was living at the Metcalf Street building, but at least one adjacent apartment building was evacuated as a precaution, in the event of a collapse. 

A preliminary investigation suggests the fire may not have been accidental. (Julia Wright/CBC)

Kevin Clifford, fire chief of the Saint John Fire Department, said a preliminary investigation suggests the fire started on the exterior of the vacant building and was deliberately set.

Smoke seen across the city early Wednesday. (Julia Wright)

The fire was called in shortly after 6 a.m. and firefighters quickly knocked down most of it. The roof and attic were still burning at mid-morning, however.

Barry Oickle, platoon chief with the Saint John Fire Department, said the fire caused a lot of damage to the building, including the roof, which is gone entirely. 

Late Wednesday afternoon, fire officials on the scene confirmed the building had been declared unsafe and will be demolished.  

It's expected the demolition could get underway as early as Wednesday evening.

Kevin Comeau, platoon chief with the Saint John Fire Department, said the fire started in the vacant building around 6 a.m. on Wednesday. (Julia Wright/CBC)

Police officers set up a barricade around the site of the fire.

Firefighters continued to battle the blaze hours after it began. (Julia Wright/CBC)

Travel in the area was affected by the blaze.