Building on Levesque totalled in blaze


No residents were injured, but several pets were lost in a fire along Levesque Street in Sturgeon Falls last week.

West Nipissing Fire Service responded to the call around 9 p.m. on Sunday, April 3 and the first crews were on the scene just minutes after. Only two apartments in the four-unit building were occupied at the time and all three residents managed to get out before the floors collapsed.

“Unfortunately, we lost some pets,” said WN fire chief Richard Maranda. “The exact number we don’t know. I understand there was a couple of dogs.”

Twenty-six firefighters responded to the call and crews were on scene for over six hours. The building was completely written off after the blaze.

“It was a pretty stubborn fire because of the age of the home and the construction type, the fire ended up in the attic very quickly,” said Maranda. “Once the fire is in there, it’s pretty hard to extinguish. We couldn’t get into the upstairs apartment because flooring was already jeopardized by the time we got there. It didn’t take long for the floor to let go.”

Maranda said based on statements taken at the scene, they have an idea of what started the fire, but he didn’t want to speculate until it was official. However, because the floors collapsed around the point of origin, the Office of the Fire Marshal declined to send someone to investigate.

It was a busy week for the WN Fire Service, as they responded to another fully involved blaze a few days later when a trailer along Old Hwy 17 caught fire on the afternoon of April 5.

“I left town maybe two minutes after the call, I could see smoke from around Cache Bay. When those catch on fire, it’s a thick black smoke too. It was fully involved, it must have been a 24 to 28 ft travel trailer.”

There were no injuries as the trailer was vacant at the time; Maranda said the owner lives down south.

“There’s no road right to it, so we had to extend about 1000 feet of hose to be able to have access to it,” he said.

Because the trailer was empty at the time, the OPP were called, and an investigation was launched. However, Maranda says there were no visible tracks nearby, so they don’t suspect foul play.

There were several notable house fires in West Nipissing last April and May as well, but Maranda says there’s nothing particular about this time of year to prompt so much fire activity. In fact, he says calls have been “pretty minimal” compared to the last two years.

“I think what we had last year was COVID, and people seemed to be more at home, so your customs kind of change. We had an awful lot that started with smoking materials because people were smoking at home instead of out of the house. Most of the fires probably started from outside, they weren’t disposing of cigarettes properly and that was usually where the starting point of some of the origins were.”

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