Fire damages West Valley Road home

Diane
Diane Crocker
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Residents of building’s two apartments able to safely evacuate

CORNER BROOK — Claudette Nardo was just about to go to sleep in her 56 West Valley Rd. apartment before noon Tuesday when her neighbours starting knocking on her door.

When she opened the door they told her the two-unit building was on fire.

“I was just really scared when they said it was fire on the front,” said Nardo. “I didn’t get anything, just myself.”

As she stood watching firefighters clean up the scene from the opposite side of the street, Nardo and a friend who came by to help her out were handed blankets by a volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross.

Nardo said she was very thankful to get out safely.

Her roommate was at work at the time of the fire and Nardo was hopeful they would be able to go back in later in the day.

But that wouldn’t be the case for her neighbours. The fire originated in an upstairs bedroom of the apartment on the front of the house. The apartment is shared by a 70-year-old man and his 30-year-old daughter.

Corner Brook fire Chief Neville Wheaton said the fire started in a mattress in the woman’s room. The burned-out remains of the mattress were seen lying on the ground near the front of the house.

Wheaton said the initial call was received by the fire department at 11:55 a.m. At the time, the department was told there was smoke coming from an upstairs window in the house and that a woman was trapped.

However, he said upon arrival it was determined that the woman was safely outside the home.

“It was a fair amount of smoke and some fire,” said Wheaton of the conditions firefighters encountered once inside.

Wheaton said the fire was contained to the woman’s bedroom and firefighters were able to knock it down fairly quickly. He said the fire caused damage to the bedroom and there was also smoke and water damage in the upstairs area.

Once the fire was out, crews used thermal imaging cameras to ensure that it hadn’t extended anywhere else in the building.

Wheaton had no comment on what caused the fire and said that would be determined by fire investigators with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

The RNC and an ambulance from Western Health were also on the scene.

The woman from the front apartment declined to talk to media about the fire and appeared visibly shaken at the scene. Bystanders say she tried unsuccessfully to put out the fire before calling the fire department.

Her friend, Fallon Blanchard, said “they’re both OK and doing well,” of the woman and her father.

“She’s a little shaken up, but they’re both OK, that’s the most important thing,” said Blanchard.

Before the fire department had left the scene, help for the occupants came in the form of the Red Cross.

Judy Bond, service centre co-ordinator for western Newfoundland, said the agency would conduct an assessment of the situation and the needs of the individuals involved.

“The two who were most affected do have somewhere to stay, so we’re goig to speak with them now, help them out with some clothing and hygiene items and possibly some food as well if they’re staying with family and friends,” said Bond.

If Nardo and her roommate are unable to return to their apartment, Bond said the Red Cross would assess their needs as well.

Organizations: Fire Department

Geographic location: Corner Brook, 56 West Valley Road, Western Star

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