Three injured in LaSalle house fire

Three injured in LaSalle house fire - Explosions rocked the neighbourhood, flames shot into the night sky and there was no time to think.

When Henry Chan peered out his window at the fierce fire consuming three homes across the street, his first thought was of the 87-year-old woman likely asleep inside one of them.The rear of three condo units on Crystal Harbour Dr, in LaSalle, ON. are shown on Thursday, August 14, 2014. The units were heavily damaged by an early morning fire. (DAN JANISSE/The Windsor Star)

“I went downstairs and got my wife up, and called 911 after that,” said Chan, who lives on Crystal Harbour Drive in LaSalle. “Then I called the lady and told her, ‘get out of the back door, get out of the back door now. Don’t think, don’t say anything, just get out of the back door and I’ll come and get you.’”

The fire erupted around 3 a.m. Thursday. It quickly ripped through three connected condo units on Crystal Harbour Drive, destroying them all and causing $1 million in damage.

LaSalle Fire Chief Dave Sutton said everyone in the units escaped. Two residents, including Chan’s 87-year-old neighbour, suffered minor injuries. A firefighter also suffered a minor shoulder injury battling the blaze.

The LaSalle Fire Service wrapped up its investigation around 2:30 p.m. Thursday. Sutton said the blaze began in the garage of the centre unit. But the actual cause will go down as undetermined because there was too much damage to pinpoint what sparked it.

It took 25 firefighters about three hours to extinguish the flames.

“We arrived to heavy fire in the centre garage unit,” said Sutton. “We confirmed that the occupants were out of the residences, and the crews mounted an aggressive exterior attack. The fire was well involved by the time we got there.”

Sutton said it’s possible the explosions many residents heard were from tires and gas tanks on vehicles inside the garage after the fire had started.

“We heard bang, bang, bang,” said Chan. “Every few seconds, bang. Then getting louder and getting louder.”

He didn’t know what the explosions were, but thought the orange glow spilling into his darkened home was from an ambulance or some other kind of vehicle. Then he went to the window.

Chan called his elderly neighbour to warn her. He said the front of the burning houses had disappeared into smoke and fire. So he and another person ran across the street and around the back of the woman’s house. They found her at the back door and carried her to safety.

Rick Reddam, who lives across a canal from the fire-ravaged homes, said a “big, big bang” also woke him up around 3 a.m. He went out the back patio door and was shocked to the houses across the canal engulfed in a fireball.

He said burning ash and other debris poured down on homes throughout the neighbourhood. It blanketed his yard and muddied up his pool.

“I told my wife ‘get dressed, we may have to get out of here,” said Reddam. “There was so much stuff coming down on our property that I thought our house was going to catch on fire, and we’re across the canal. People out there were trying to put water onto their boats. You couldn’t go out in my backyard because it was coming down so heavy.”

Barbara Messer, who is visiting her sister next door from the burned homes, said strong winds fanned the flames.

“You could see the flames inside the garage, the roof was on fire and you could see that the insulation inside was coming down,” she said. “You could just see flames all through the attic of the three units. Flames were shooting up high and there was black soot on boats out back and on the other houses.”

Link to article: Three injured in LaSalle house fire

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