Fire forces 20 residents from Amherst, N.S., rooming house

Twenty residents in Amherst, N.S. have been forced from their homes following a fire at a downtown rooming house Monday morning.

Just before 4 a.m., fire crews were called to a structure fire located at 4 Prince Arthur St.

Officials say when firefighters arrived, smoke was coming out of two back doors that led to the basement of the two-story rooming house.

According to town officials, crews were able to extinguish the fire about 45 minutes after arrival.

Greg Jones, Amherst’s director of fire services, says the fire was mostly confined to the basement area of the building.

“Everyone got out of the building,” said Jones. “None of the residents or the 46 firefighters on the scene were physically injured.”

The Canadian Red Cross was contacted and is assisting 16 people with emergency lodging, food and clothing.

"(The) other four tenants left the scene before the Red Cross team arrived, but will be offered similar help if needed," wrote the Canadian Red Cross in a Twitter post.

The extent of the damage was still being investigated as of 9 a.m. on Monday.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.