PEI

82-year-old man rescued from 3rd storey window as fire engulfs Summerside apartment

Ten people have been temporarily displaced after a fire in downtown Summerside Sunday night.

'It could have been definitely a different ending'

Scene of apartment fire in Summerside, showing smoke damage.
When firefighters arrived, two people were on the roof, a man was hanging out a top storey window, and a woman was trying to get down a fire escape. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

There were some tense moments Sunday night when firefighters were called to a fire in Summerside, P.E.I.

The call about a fire at a six-unit apartment building came in to the fire station about 11:15 p.m., said Chief Ron Enman. The caller said it looked like people were trapped on upper floors, and Enman said that's what they found when they arrived on the scene.

"When we got around the exterior of the building, we had an 82-year-old gentleman hanging out the third storey window. We had another resident halfway down the fire escape and we had two gentlemen on the roof."

Jenny Arsenault is one of 10 residents who have been displaced by the fire. She was able to get her dog, Milo, out safely. Four other animals were also saved.

"I was scared. I thought the whole building was going to go up, but they settled it."

I was scared. I thought the whole building was going to go up— Jenny Arsenault

Arsenault said she heard the alarm go off and knew it wasn't coming from her apartment.

"I opened up the front door and could hear everybody on the second floor running around and saying there was a fire, to grab all the animals. So I grabbed my animals, went out the back door and went around the corner and the second floor window was red and just engulfed in flames. I thought it was going to bust out."

The building, on the corner of Fitzroy and Summer Streets, is only about a half block from the fire station so the response was quick, Enman said.

"I don't think I've ever seen the ladder truck ready to extend and get into action so quick. The boys were right on their game," he said.

Summerside fire Chief Ron Enman
'It could have been definitely a different ending,' says Chief Ron Enman. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

"They picked the guy out of the third-storey window. There was a lot of smoke coming out and he was half hanging out. We got those rescues done and then we focused on the fire."

Following those rescues, a secondary search found no one else in the building. Firefighters turned their attention to the fire itself and were able to knock it down quickly, Enman said.

No serious injuries

As well as the 10 residents, there was one visitor in the building when the fire broke out. There were no serious injuries, Enman said.

Summerside Police were first on scene. Officers entered the building and began knocking on doors on the ground floor to alert tenants to the fire above, Enman said.

"It was a great effort on everybody's part. It went really well. It could have been definitely a different ending."

The Summerside fire chaplain and the Red Cross were able to find shelter for the 10 displaced residents.

"They have been absolutely amazing, They made sure we have money for food and a place to stay," said Nikita Jesso, who lives in the main floor. 

The fire marshal was on scene Monday to try to determine the cause.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Yarr is the early morning web journalist at CBC P.E.I. Kevin has a specialty in data journalism, and how statistics relate to the changing lives of Islanders. He has a BSc and a BA from Dalhousie University, and studied journalism at Holland College in Charlottetown. You can reach him at kevin.yarr@cbc.ca.

With files from Shane Ross, Wayne Thibodeau and Brian Higgins

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