Citizens jump into action to save residents in burning home

Kingston Fire and Rescue on scene after a fire broke out at a home on the corner of Bexley Gate and Davis Drive in the city’s west end.
Photo by Cody Stafford-Arenburg/Kingstonist.

The plumes of black smoke coming from a fire at house located at the corner of Bexley Gate and Davis Drive could be seen from all over Kingston’s west end, but they weren’t enough to scare off two citizens passing by the fire.

The fire broke out at just before 1:34 p.m. on Wednesday, Apr. 19, 2023, which is when Kingston Fire and Rescue and Frontenac Paramedic Services were dispatched to the address — one that is well-loved by many in Kingston for its outstanding decorations in the winter holiday season. But prior to their arrival, two citizens who saw the smoke and flames stopped and entered the burning building to ensure those inside were able to get out. One of those people was Daniel Swain, who spoke with Kingstonist while still on the scene, after receiving oxygen treatment from Frontenac Paramedics due to smoke inhalation.

Smoke from the fire as seen from the Cataraqui Centre right after the fire broke out. Photo by Daniel Tastard-Homer/Kingstonist.

Swain recounted that, as he was travelling on Taylor Kidd Boulevard, he saw the smoke and immediately know there was a fire. With no fire trucks on scene and flames visible in the home, Swain went to retrieve a fire extinguisher from his own vehicle, but realized it wasn’t there. That’s when he did what few others would even consider.

“A lady started yelling ‘there’s people in there,’ and as soon as she started yelling there was people in there, there was another gentleman on a motorbike who had pulled over with me, and we just went right through that front door. It was unlocked, thank God!” Swain recounted, still slightly breathless and obviously reeling from the experience.

Kingston Fire and Rescue confirmed that civilians did enter the house to assist those inside, who were asleep when the fire broke out.

Once inside the house, Swain said, a man on the main floor told him there were people upstairs. That man got out, and Swain didn’t hesitate – he went up the stairs, pulling his sweater over his face to protect against the thick smoke. He found a woman in a bathrobe who required assistance to exit the building. Swain said he helped her to safety.

“It was pretty heavy smoke, pretty thick black smoke. I couldn’t see her, and she was right there,” he explained. “So we had to crouch down.”

 By that point, the smoke had thickened, but he knew there were still people inside, so Swain went back in, and back upstairs.

“[I] walk back through the smoke again, and there was a gentleman who had two cats in his hand,” Swain recalled. “[I] escorted him down and out. And that’s the last thing I kind of remember until the fire department gave me oxygen.”

By 3:15 p.m., the fire was out. Kingston Fire and Rescue crews remained on scene, monitoring for hot spots and continuing to investigate the cause of the fire, and the extent of the damages.

“Update: Fire crews remain on scene at the 400 block of Davis Drive for a structure fire that occurred at 1:30pm this afternoon. Davis Drive between Bexley Gate and Whistler Terrace is closed. Please avoid this area at this time. Fire Inspectors on scene. Updates to follow,” the local fire department said on their Twitter account at 3:19 p.m.

According to those on scene, no major injuries were sustained as a result of the fire.

Kingstonist will provide updated coverage as more information becomes available.

The full interview with Daniel Swain can be viewed below, or on the Kingstonist YouTube channel.

2 thoughts on “Citizens jump into action to save residents in burning home

  • Very courageous act, I am sure the family feel very grateful for you being there

  • I love being reminded that such good people like Daniel Swain are in our community. This house is indeed a gem in Kingston, bringing great joy to kids and pedestrians of all ages around the holiday times, with all the lights and music. I hope that all the residents are safe and that there isn’t extensive damage.

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!