Rockland’s firefighters were in demand over the December 14 weekend, with three calls, one for each day, including a Sunday house fire situation that forced a local woman to look at spending Christmas with family and friends. “It was a busy weekend,” said Fire Chief Brian Wilson, during a Monday interview.
The Sunday house fire occurred on Edwards Street, in the 900-block, between Laurier Street and County Road 17. Firefighters were called out just before 12:30 p.m. and found smoke coming out of the premises when they arrived on the scene.
Firefighters tried to get around behind the building and inside to deal with the situation, but were forced back out. Wilson reported that part of a roof section at the rear of the building started to collapse.
The woman who lived in the building was absent at the time of the fire, but several neighbours told firefighters that there could be pets inside the house. Wilson reported that his people tried again to get inside the building to attempt a search for any of the animals but were again driven back outside by the heat and the flames.
The Ottawa Fire Services sent out a pumper truck, a ladder truck and crews, to help their Rockland counterparts, under the mutual assistance agreement between the two municipalities. Ottawa also had a third unit on standby call, to respond to any other Rockland fire calls while all of the local firefighters were dealing with the Edwards Street situation.
The fire was brought under control after several hours. The building was gutted and the shell had to be knocked down as part of the mop-up operation. Wilson reported that any pets, which may have been inside, are presumed dead as there were no reports of any animals escaping from the building while firefighters were on the scene.
Sunday’s freezing temperatures created a risk of icy street and ground conditions from water used to fight the fire. Rockland’s public works crew were on the scene, spreading sand and salt to provide traction for fire fighters and their equipment while they battled the blaze.
The site of the fire is now cordoned off for later examination and final cleanup. Damage estimate is $450,000 with the complete loss of the building. Wilson reported the cause of the fire is not yet known but neither his department nor the Ontario Fire Marshall’s Office have any reason to suspect it is anything other than accidental.
Other fire calls
The December 14 weekend for the Rockland Fire Department began with a Friday call, to deal with a fire incident at a small storage shed.
The next day, members of both the Rockland and Bourget stations responded to a call about a mobile home fire on Felix Street, in the Village of Bourget. Chief Wilson reported that the mobile home was destroyed but there were no injuries or loss of life reported.