‘Poor handling of smokers materials’ led to fire at Rideaucrest Towers

Kingston Fire & Rescue and Frontenac Paramedic Services were on scene as firefighters extinguished a fire at Rideaucrest Towers on Rideau Street. Photo by Kingstonist.

An investigation into the cause of yesterday’s fire on the third floor of Rideaucrest Towers on Rideau Street that has displaced one tenant is now complete.

Kingston Fire & Rescue (KFR) crews were called to the apartment complex at approximately 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, after multiple 911 calls were received from tenants in the apartment building, neighbouring residents, passers-by, as well as a call from the fire alarm monitoring company, KFR said in response to Kingstonist’s inquiries.

“Smoke was visible from a third-floor window on our arrival,” KFR said. “Occupants of the fire unit evacuated and took shelter in a stairwell. One of the occupants sheltering in the stairwell used a wheelchair and was accompanied by a caregiver, both were rescued from the building by firefighters.”

KFR noted that they received multiple calls from concerned tenants who would require assistance to exit the building. “Firefighters attended and assisted seniors to evacuate the building where required and directed others to shelter in place. Frontenac Paramedics were on scene assessing persons who evacuated the building,” KFR added.

After investigation, KFR explained that the fire ignited in the living room and is believed to have been caused by poor handling of smokers materials (which they defined as tobacco products, matches, lighters, torches, and pipes.) According to an update KFR provided on social media, firefighters were able to quickly control and extinguish the fire, containing it to the unit of origin.

Yesterday, Rideaucrest, the long-term care home which shares property with Rideaucrest Towers, provided a statement on the occurrence: “Earlier today a fire occurred in our neighbouring building Rideau (sic) Towers. This is separate from Rideaucrest Home. This apartment complex is located directly north of Rideaucrest Home and shares our courtyard at the back of the building. The flames were contained to one unit on the 3rd floor of the Rideau (sic) Towers. Kingston Fire & Rescue were promptly on the scene to extinguish the fire. Our team at Rideaucrest monitored the situation closely and ensured that Rideaucrest residents’ safety was maintained at all times. During the afternoon, the Home temporarily provided a warm location for those displaced from Rideau (sic) Towers to wait while Kingston Fire & Rescue assessed the site.”

The damage to Rideaucrest Towers is estimated at $110,000, and one tenant has been displaced as a result of the fire and is receiving assistance.

In their update, Kingston Fire & Rescue reminded owners and tenants of apartment buildings and condos to know the emergency procedures for your building. 

“Know when to evacuate and when to shelter in place. If you are concerned about your ability to know of a fire or evacuate safely, please ensure you are listed on the ‘Persons Requiring Assistance’ list contained within the building’s fire safety plan,” the agency stated. “Free fire safety and emergency procedure presentations are available to apartment buildings by contacting [email protected] . Additionally, we encourage all residences of Kingston to complete our home self–inspection checklist annually https://www.cityofkingston.ca/residents/emergency-services/kingston-fire-rescue/truck-station-visits/home-self-inspections.”

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