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Video: Garson fire displaces two families

Police needed to disperse nearly 100 spectators and their vehicles who were getting in the way of firefighting efforts

Two homes are severely damaged and two families are displaced after a fire in Garson on Friday evening, resulting in more than $750,000 in damages, said André Laurin of Greater Sudbury Fire Services. 

The fire is believed to have been started in, around or above a shed located behind one of the three properties affected by the event. Two of the houses have been deemed unlivable, while the third was damaged only "slightly" by exposure, said Laurin. 

Residents of the property where the fire started have found shelter with loved ones, while those in the second house have been taken into the care of the Canadian Red Cross. There were no injuries reported in relation to the fire. 

The Garson Volunteer Fire Department was the first to respond to the call, arriving on-scene around 5:35 p.m. June 21. The team began water application, while they waited for additional support to contain the growing fire. 

Upon arrival, Laurin found a considerable number of residents and their vehicles, blocking access to the fire. While he said this is something he very rarely has to do, especially in such a secluded area of town, he was forced to call the police to disperse the crowd.

"The public is naturally curious whenever it comes to a fire, especially a big one like that – you could see the column of smoke from miles away," said Laurin. "But it becomes a big logistical problem for the personnel on-scene and the apparatuses trying to get to the scene."

"It's okay to be curious, but residents need to be mindful of the fact that their curiosity could delay our response."

The fire was contained around 10 p.m. that evening, requiring three engines and one ladder truck, as well as 38 personnel, including crews from the Garson, Coniston and Falconbridge fire stations. 

"Our main priority is public safety," Laurin said. "Don't put yourself in a hazardous atmosphere, just to take a picture."