New Brunswick

Grand Falls fire leaves two dozen homeless

Fire ripped through an apartment building in Grand Falls, N.B. Friday night.

Fire ripped through a duplex and neighbouring apartment building in Grand Falls, N.B. Friday night.

Emergency crews received the call for help around 4:30 p.m. but it was already too late.

"I looked up and I could see the smoke from where I was. En route to the fire station I could see flames coming out of at least one of the buildings," said Grand Falls Fire Chief Charles Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh said the fire started in the duplex on St. George Road, then spread to the nine-unit apartment building. He said it was too dangerous to send firefighters into the buildings when they arrived on the scene.

"My first thought is that I was hoping there was nobody in there," he said. "One resident in particular barely made it out with her baby." 

Kavanaugh said everyone managed to escape the burning buildings without injury.

The damage was so extensive, the apartment complex had to be levelled due to safety concerns.

The Canadian Red Cross said at least 22 people are now homeless. Seventeen people lived in the two-story building, and at least five others cannot return to the damaged duplex.

The Red Cross said it is helping 10 of the tenants with shelter, clothes and food while the others are being helped by the Department of Social Development or family and friends.

Kavanaugh said the cause of the fire is under investigation, but they don't believe it's suspicious.