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Froude Avenue fire decimates social housing units, sends one person to hospital


Published on June 26, 2017

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the blaze.

©Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on 26 June 2017

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the blaze. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on 26 June 2017

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the blaze. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on 26 June 2017

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the blaze. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on 26 June 2017

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the blaze. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on 26 June 2017

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the blaze. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on 26 June 2017

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the blaze. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on 26 June 2017

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the blaze. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on 26 June 2017

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the blaze. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on 26 June 2017

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the blaze. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on 26 June 2017

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the fire. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on 26 June 2017

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the fire. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on 26 June 2017

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the fire. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on 26 June 2017

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the fire. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on 26 June 2017

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the blaze. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on 26 June 2017

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the blaze. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on 26 June 2017

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the fire. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on 26 June 2017

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the fire. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the fire. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the fire. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the fire. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the fire. Keith Gosse/The Telegram Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the fire. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Firefighters from the St. John’s Regional fire department battled a huge blaze on Froude Avenue Monday evening that destroyed at least twelve housing units and sent smoke across the city of St John’s. Not only did gusting winds cause problems for the firefighters, low water pressure in the area also contributed to the spread of the fire. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Photos by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Crowds of people were out on the street amid billowing clouds of smoke on Froude Avenue Monday night as fire claimed three social housing buildings, totalling 12 units.

Sharon Simms was in one of the buildings when she heard a scream, ran out of her house and realized it had caught fire.

Simms said she tried to go back in for her cats, but by the time she got back to the door, it was on fire.

Standing on a lawn as firefighters worked to put out the flames, she said she figured her pets were dead.

“I’m after cryin’ and cryin’, I can’t cry no more,” she said.

Simms said she also tried to help a neighbour get out of the adjacent building

“I remember grabbing her and hauling her down over the stairs, and I said, ‘Now she’s out, everything is fine,’” Simms said.

“When I looked, she was after going back in her house for her bird, and she got all of her face burned. She’s in the Health Sciences.”

Firefighters said only one person was taken to hospital.

Part of the reason the fire caused so much damage was because when firefighters first arrived on the scene, they struggled with low water pressure, so it took longer to get the blaze under control.

Some people who were displaced from their homes took refuge in the St. John’s Women’s Centre across the road on Cashin Avenue, or in the nearby Froude Avenue Community Centre.

Jean Proctor, who was inside the community centre, had tears streaming down her face.

Proctor said she had serious health issues, including being post-cancer, diabetic and having multiple broken ribs from a recent fall. Proctor’s daughter, who was in a powered wheelchair, was also out of a home.

Proctor was in a state of anguish because all her medication had been lost in the fire.

“Everything’s in there — gone,” she said.

“I’m just glad that we’re all safe. But I did have some personal belongings there, like all my memories of my children from 30 years were there in a box. I’m just glad we got our animals out and we’re safe.”

Proctor was defensive about her neighbourhood, and the people who live in the area.

“There was people saying it’s about time this dump burned down. I said, ‘Listen buddy, I’m going to tell you now, you’d better watch your mouth, because 12 families just lost their f---ing homes here, right.’”

Nearby in the community centre, MHA Gerry Rogers was working on her Blackberry, trying to find a pharmacy that could help Proctor, and other people.

“Froude Avenue is a fabulous community, it’s a real strong community,” Rogers said.

“There’s a lot of people that have been living here for years. As a matter of fact, there’s families who have been here for generations.”

Rogers said that for the night, some people would stay in the Women’s Centre, but multiple people were worried about lost medication or medical devices, such as powered wheelchairs that need to be connected to a charger.

Several survivors told The Telegram that they didn’t know where they would spend the night.

Tuesday morning, the Red Cross said at least 35 people were displaced by the blaze and efforts continue to provide emergency aid.

The Red Cross said disaster volunteers the 35 from 13 different families with personal-care items and worked into the night with  the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Authorityto secure emergency lodging for most at area hotels, which the authority is paying for. 

Some tenants opted instead to stay with family or friends, the Red Cross said. 
  
Red Cross teams will start meeting today with the displaced residents to assess emergency needs and support, including clothing purchases, food and any other essential items lost in the blaze.  
  
There were no serious injuries, the Red Cross said,  though one tenant was checked at hospital for smoke inhalation.

 

Earlier story:

Firefighters battling Froude Avenue blaze

Firefighers are at the scene of a massive blaze on Froude Avenue in St. John’s.

At least three or four houses are on fire.

The Telegram will post more information as it becomes available.