An unattended bedroom candle is believed to have started a Christmas Day fire in a Fort Richmond home that caused $400,000 in damage.
On Wednesday, the house at 49 Mapleridge Ave. had boarded-up windows, charred stucco, a toppled plastic snowman in the front yard and the putrid smell of smoke wafted in the air.
Firefighters and emergency crews from several stations responded to the 911 call at approximately 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday. Firefighters spent most of Tuesday afternoon and evening battling the blaze.
"I saw policemen and firefighters pull up in the driveway and then firefighters began breaking windows in the basement and black smoke began billowing out," said Asha Chettri, who lives two houses away. "I'm so glad everyone got out in time."
There were no injuries.
"The damage inside is significant," said Josh Kadyschuk, a Power Up Electric contractor called in by restoration company FirstOnSite.
He spent most of Wednesday morning trying to get the power back on and the heat working so the inside of the home didn't freeze.
"It will probably be a few months before the family can go back home. It looks to me like they will need to strip the whole house. The floors at the back of the house are all burnt and will need replacing."
"I think they were right in the middle of Christmas dinner when it happened, which is really sad," said Kadyschuk through a black protective mask.
"Right now, there are still presents scattered everywhere in the living room."
Nurul Haque and his wife, Khaleda Akter, live next door and said they already miss their neighbours, a couple they believed to be in their early 70s who built the home 30 years ago.
"I heard some noise so I came outside to see what was happening and right away I saw the flames and black smoke," said Haque, who refers to his neighbour as Mr. L.
"Their family was there for Christmas Day. I saw their grandson and granddaughter run outside just as the fire truck was pulling up. They were only outside in the cold for a few minutes though, and then the neighbour on the other side invited everyone in to get warm."
"I'm very sad that this happened to them. They are such good people. They are quiet, private people, but very friendly. They have hosted a few parties at their house, and they were a lot of fun," said Haque.