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Updated: Kitchen fire guts apartment unit on Hemlock Street

A mishap while deep frying french fries caused an apartment fire on Hemlock Street, gutting one of the apartment building’s seven units

Updated Feb. 3 at 1:40 p.m.

There were no injuries reported following a fire in an apartment building earlier today, although one resident feared for the safety of his pet pigeon.

Watching as Greater Sudbury Fire Services members tended to the scene at the Hemlock Street building at approximately 10:45 a.m., Sean Cusson said that the mishap occurred while he was deep frying french fries.

The 52-year-old left his pot unattended briefly to go to the washroom, and when he returned, the pot was on fire. He grabbed the pot, threw it into the sink and tossed a leather coat over it.

Although this snuffed the flame in the pot, it had also spread to the area around his stove. He ran to the washroom to fill a bucket with water, but by the time he got back to the fire he discovered the bucket had a hole in it.

Smoke had filled his apartment unit by then, so he ran outside to get fresh air. He filled a container he found outside with snow to pitch onto the fire, but by then there was too much smoke in the building.

He yelled for someone to phone 911, and Greater Sudbury Fire Services members were on site within minutes.

“I tried so hard,” Cusson said.

Firefighters arrived from the downtown station at approximately 9:30 a.m. and evacuated around six people from the building.

Nearby Lorne Street was partially closed for a time to make way for firefighting operations, but has since fully reopened.

“We do have some extensive fire and smoke damage in at least one unit,” Deputy Chief Jesse Oshell said, adding that the flames had also spread to the roof. 

The blaze was snuffed by the time arrived on the scene at approximately 10:30 a.m. and firefighters were working to prevent the fire from reigniting. They were operating in cycles and warming up in between due to the weather dropping to around -16 C. 

Resident Alisa Crane was seen outside waiting for word on her eight-year-old tabby cat, Mishka.

Although some residents were waiting for word on their cats and birds, Oshell said that since the damage was contained mainly to one unit, he believed they would be OK.

The one exception may have been Cusson’s pet pigeon, Peep, who was still in his heavily damaged apartment unit.

Cusson found the bird abandoned and unable to fly under the Brady Street bridge approximately four years ago and brought it home to take care of. 

He named the bird Peep after the sound it made when they first met. 

Lacking renter’s insurance, Cusson said his next step will be to “Start off again.”

Oshell said they’d already reached out to the Canadian Red Cross to find temporary accommodations for the people who were displaced by the fire. 

Coming out of the morning’s fire, Cusson said the message he wants to share with others is that they should never leave their stove unattended.

Updated Feb. 3 at 11:35 a.m.

Some residents of a multi-unit building on Hemlock Street had to be evacuated this morning after a fire involving one unit, according to Greater Sudbury Fire Services Deputy Chief Jesse Oshell.

Oshell said in a tweet shortly after 10 a.m. that the fire had potentially spread to the roof, and an aerial ladder had been deployed.

Original story:

Greater Sudbury Police say Lorne Street is partially closed due to a structure fire.

The structure fire is located on Hemlock Street, police said in a tweet shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday morning.

The eastbound lanes of Lorne Street heading toward Elm Street are closed between Douglas and Hazel streets while crews are on scene.

Police ask that people find an alternate route.