Fire officials say “careless smoking” is believed to be the cause of a house fire in Chatham on Wednesday.
Firefighters from Chatham Stations No. 1 and 2 responded to the blaze on O’Neil Street.
Chatham-Kent Fire and Emergency Services assistant Chief Phil Thornburn said the call came in just after 1 p.m.
“Crews could see smoke in the area as they approached the scene,” he said.
Thornburn said the fire, which is believed to have started on the outside of the house at the rear, spread heavily through the house.
“Crews did a great job knocking down the fire, there were no injuries and everyone was out of the house when we arrived,” said the assistant chief, noting there was “pretty extensive fire damage.”
Damage is pegged at approximately $200,000.
A couple who live next door called 911.
The woman, who didn’t want to be named, said she first saw what she believed was dust while at the front of the house.
“Then when I went to the back of our house, I saw flames and started yelling to my husband that the neighbour’s house is on fire,” she said.
She said they knew there was a dog in the house, so her husband took a large landscaping rock and smashed the window of the front door to get the animal out.
The woman said they were surprised to see two people leave the house.
“I knew the dog was in there, but I didn’t know people were in there,” her husband said. “I’m just glad we were around.”
The family dog and what appeared to be a hamster also made it out of the fire safely.
The couple’s home sustained some damage to the siding, soffit and a few roof shingles due to the intense heat from the blaze.
Another neighbour across the street, who also didn’t want to be named, said he didn’t realize the house was on fire until the fire trucks arrived.
“I came out on the porch and (the fire) was going really good,” he said, adding the flames were six to nine metres high at one point.
Smoke from the fire could been seen at the intersection of Lacroix Street and Park Avenue.