18 people saved by smoke alarms in St.Catharines this week alone

St.Catharines officials say working smoke alarms have saved 18 people in two separate overnight fires this week, including one Tuesday night at an apartment building on Carlton Street.

Careless use of smoking materials was the cause of a mattress fire in the basement apartment at 43 Carlton St. just after midnight.

The fire chief said the fire started after a tenant dozed off while smoking in bed.

The heavy smoke caused by the fire sounded smoke alarms, waking the 11 people living in the building’s three units.

No injuries were reported and a pet hedgehog was rescued.

Unfortunately, three pet cats did not survive the fire.

“Time is never on your side when there’s a fire in your home and that’s never truer than when it happens overnight and people are sleeping,” the fire chief said. “Working smoke alarms provide occupants with an early warning when they need it most to get out fast.

“The people we’ve helped this week were sleeping when the fires broke out in their homes. But, because their smoke alarms activated they were alerted and were able to act.”

The fire caused about $100,000 in damage and the Canadian Red Cross is assisting tenants with temporary shelter.

The fire chief urges residents to never smoke in bed and always becareful when disposing of smoking materials such as cigarette butts, ashes and matches.

The cause of an overnight fire at the Bistrobar Café at 385 St. Paul St. earlier this week remains under investigation but has been deemed suspicious.

The building’s smoke alarms sounded and woke the seven tenants living in the upstairs residences. The tenants were able to escape to the roof unharmed. No injuries were reported.

The Bistrobar Café fire caused between $150,000 and $200,000 in damage.