Editorial note: This article has been updated to include information on fundraising efforts for both of the affected families.
It has undoubtedly been an emotional 24 hours for those affected by a residential fire in the Cataraqui Woods neighbourhood in Kingston’s west end.
After fire broke out at a duplex on Brackenwood Crescent, neighbours, who had spotted a cat inside the burning house attempting to get out a window, alerted firefighters that the pet was inside. Crews with Kingston Fire and Rescue were able to rescue the cat, but, sadly, the animal fled from the chaos, seemingly frightened, according to witnesses. Then, the following day, the cat – Luna – returned and was reunited with its family.
And while that family is surely celebrating Luna’s return and the fact the fire didn’t spread beyond attic portions of the two homes, they – along with their neighbours – are currently displaced, according to the local fire department.
The fire, which occurred at approximately 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, saw several 911 calls placed, as dark smoke was visible through much of Kingston’s west end. When firefighters arrived at the two-storey duplex, they found heavy smoke and flames venting from the roof line and soffit at the front of the home.
“The rear deck and siding of the homes were fully involved with fire,” Kingston Fire & Rescue said the following day, noting no one was injured as a result of the blaze.
And while the cause of the fire remains under investigation at this time, it is not considered to have been suspicious in nature, the fire department said.
“The fire did originate on a wooden deck which burned the siding all the way to the soffit making entry into the attic and fire also entered each home through windows,” Kingston Fire & Rescue explained.
“Neighbouring properties and vehicles were not affected. Damage is extensive to both homes and the total estimated cost of damages to both properties is $360,000.”
As the families await the conclusion of the investigation, friends of the family in the home where Luna lives have organized a GoFundMe campaign to help offset the costs.
“At this time, they do not know the extent of the damage to the home, but they will need help from our community and friends in the meantime,” fundraising organizer Andrea Mooney wrote on the GoFundMe page for the Wilder family.
A total of 32 donations have exceeded the $5,000 goal for the campaign, but the cost of damages sustained in the fire well exceeds that amount.
At the same time, another fundraiser has been started for the family that lives in the other side of the duplex — the home the was damaged the most in the blaze.
“I would love to help out this young family in their time of need to help cover the immediate costs they are going to endure while waiting on insurance. Any little bit helps,” fundraising organizer Brittany Stonness wrote on the GoFundMe page for the Roy family.
Unlike the other fundraiser, which began earlier, the GoFundMe campaign for the Roy family has only collected $310 from three donations towards its $5,000 goal.
For their part, Kingston Fire and Rescue said the incident serves as a reminder to all of the importance of fire safety.
“Kingston Fire & Rescue reminds all residents to complete our home self-inspection annually to reduce the risk and impacts of fire,” the fire department said.
More information on home self-inspections from Kingston Fire & Rescue can be read on the City of Kingston website.
As of 4 p.m. today, Wednesday, May 31, 2023, Kingston Fire & Rescue crews remain on scene at the duplex after returning today as a precautionary measure to monitor for hot spots and flare ups. This article will be updated if/when more information becomes available.