Residents unable to return home after Waterloo townhouse fire

A fire in a Waterloo townhouse over the weekend left one person injured and several people displaced from their homes. Investigators are continuing their work to find out what caused the Bluevale Street North fire.

Neighbors who witnessed the fire said it spread quickly from the garage to the roof.

Kyle Lavigne was preparing breakfast on Saturday morning when he heard strange noises, causing him to run outside to take in a dramatic view just two doors down.

“The whole house was on fire. All I could see was the fire hitting the trees,” Lavigne said.

The fire started around 11:30 a.m. in a townhouse that is part of a four-unit complex.

“We just had to watch it happen and hope it didn’t go our unit,” Lavigne added.

The Ontario Fire Marshal (OFM) arrived at the scene on Sunday and investigated the cause of the fire. Investigators say it originated in the garage and then spread to two other units through the roof. A car was parked in the garage during the fire and was later towed away.

Charred debris covers the driveway of this home on Bluevale Street in Waterloo after a fire ripped through the building on Aug. 27, 2022. (CTV Kitchener)

“I believe we’ve narrowed it down to an area in the garage where it started, but we’re looking at several things in terms of causation,” OFM Provincial Fire Investigator Jordan Froese told CTV News.

The cause of the fire does not seem suspicious. Firefighters said the man who lived in the unit was outside the home at the time of the fire and was taken to hospital with thermal injuries.

“He was running with fire on his t-shirt,” said Rutvi Shah, who witnessed the scene. “Fortunately, he was able to put out the fire from behind. He shook his head and lay down in the grass.

Kyle Lavigne is among those displaced by a fire on Bluevale Street North in Waterloo. (Carmen Wong/CTV Kitchener)

Investigators say there were people at home in adjoining units but everyone escaped security, adding that the Red Cross is assisting anyone unable to return home.

“Right now, it just moved us for the moment. For how long, we don’t know,” Lavigne said.

In the meantime, Lavigne is staying with her family and friends and is grateful to have evacuated safely with her cats.

Firefighters say the incident is a reminder that working smoke detectors can save lives.

“Providing that early warning is kind of critical for you and your family to get out,” Froese said.

Damage is estimated at over $500,000.

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