Update: Over $1 million in damages sustained – Multi-house fire leaves four properties damaged in Kingston’s west end

A firefighter works to drench flames from beneath on one side of two houses that were ravaged by fire on Clover Street on the afternoon of Monday, Sept. 25, 2023. Photo by Cris Vilela/Kingstonist.

Editorial note: This article has been updated since it was originally published on Monday, Sept. 25, 2023, at 4:43 p.m. Most recent updates are available at the bottom of this article.

The fire began sometime before 3:23 p.m. today, Monday, Sept. 25, 2023, and quickly spread from one house to another before crews from Kingston Fire & Rescue arrived on scene. By that point, the flames from the two homes ablaze were beginning to stretch towards a third house. Within 15 minutes, the home on the other side of the two homes initially involved in the blaze was also at risk of being damaged, as flames jumped through the roofs of both of the initially involved structures.

The two involved structures are attacked with water from all sides to quell the flames. Photo by Cris Vilela/Kingstonist.

Firefighters worked quickly to attack the flames at both homes, with some members of the crew concentrating on dousing the two homes to either side of them in an attempt to prevent damages and ultimately catching fire, as well.

According to witnesses and neighbours on the scene, no residents or pets were unaccounted for as firefighters battled the fire. Kingston Fire and Rescue has not been able to verify that at this time (4:10 p.m.), and Kingstonist has since learned it is possible one of the affected families’ cat perished in the incident (6:15 p.m.).

One neighbour, who was painting his fence outside, told Kingstonist that he started smelling an odd plastic burning smell, and then heard the residents of the basement unit at 1513 Clover Street yelling that there was a fire. The neighbour explained that the affected homes are duplexes (up/down split) with secondary units in the basements.

The fires are under control at this point, and Kingston Fire & Rescue crews will continue to attack any flames on site, as well as monitor for hotspots or re-ignition.

Kingston Police officers are also on scene to direct traffic and ensure firefighters are not impeded in doing their work. Clover Street is closed between Carfa Crescent and Rosanna Avenue while Kingston Fire & Rescue continue to respond to multi-structure fire.

Kingstonist has reached out to Kingston Fire & Rescue for comment on this incident, but response was not immediately available.

Victims Services were on scene by 4:30 p.m. and speaking with the affected families.

This article will be updated if/when more information becomes available, however, drivers are asked to avoid the area if possible until emergency crews have cleared the scene.

Update (Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, at 10:35 a.m.):

Kingston Fire & Rescue has released additional details on the fire that broke out at a Clover Street residence on the afternoon of Monday, Sept. 25, 2023, spreading to two houses and damaging two others.

Fire crews responded to “multiple 911 calls reporting a house fire in the 1500 block of Clover Street just before 3:30 p.m.” that afternoon, Kingston Fire and Rescue said in response to Kingstonist inquiries.

“On arrival, firefighters observed fire between two houses in close proximity. The fire had spread up the siding on each of the homes and had extended into the attic and roofs of both,” the local fire department said.

Kingston Fire & Rescue confirmed that each home contained at least two units and stated that, as a result of the fire, three families and two students have been displaced.”

“Two persons were present at the time of the fire and escaped with their dogs,” Kingston Fire & Rescue said.

Kingstonist had earlier reported that it was possible a family cat had perished in the blaze, however, that cat was simply missing at that time. According to the fire department, that cat was located “hiding in a boxspring and was returned in good condition to the owner.” 

The fire deparment also confirmed that both homes experienced substantial damage, and that additional damages occurred to the homes on each side of the two houses involved in the fire, namely in the form of damaged vinyl siding. This means a total of four houses sustained damages as a result of the fire.

“While the loss is still being calculated, damages will easily exceed $1.5 million,” Kingston Fire & Rescue said.

The fire department also determined the cause of the fire, stating that careless disposal of smoking materials started the incident in an garbage and recycling area. This was discovered by an occupant who was home at the time.

“The fire was directly beside a propane barbecue tank, which vented, creating a fire torch between the two units and, combined with high winds, contributed to rapid fire development,” Kington Fire & Rescue (KFR) concluded.

“Many home fires are preventable. KFR reminds residents that cigarettes, joints, and any other lit smoking materials MUST be completely extinguished in water or sand without exception.”

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