A burning mattress created smoke and heat, causing several tenants to jump from windows
ZOE DUCKLOW, LOCAL JOURNALISM INITIATIVE REPORTER Jan. 19, 2021 1:57 p.m.
A hallway fire that ousted dozens of people from their homes late Sunday is considered suspicious, say RCMP, and an investigation is ongoing.
The fire started in the second floor hallway of Town Park Apartments C-block at around 11:30 p.m on Jan. 17. It quickly engulfed the hallway, pumping heat and smoke through the building. A mattress was found on fire in the hallway, but officials would not confirm whether it was intentionally set alight.
Andrew Dawson lives on the second floor with his wife and uncle. Earlier that night he says someone pulled the fire alarm, and shortly after the building manager sorted that out, the smoke detector went off.
“I usually don’t react because they’re so sensitive, they go off all the time. You open your shower and steam will set it off,” he said. But that night for some reason he went to check, and found an actual fire.
Dawson ran down the hallway banging on doors, yelling for people to get out. Outside, he found his wife, uncle and uncle’s girlfriend at the window trying to climb down with blankets. Dawson could see it billowing out the neighbour’s window, who had left their hallway door open.
“I started screaming, jump, I’ll catch you just jump, I was pleading,” he said. They dropped while he tried to break their fall.