Neighbour quick to put out blaze

Fire on Wolcott extinguished before firefighters arive

Part of the burnt wall.
Wall was burnt through on Wolcott Avenue before a neighbour put out the fire.  (Rose Hetherington)

On Wednesday evening, firefighters responded to a call on Wolcott Avenue but were needed only to inspect the aftermath. When the four firetrucks arrived, the fire was already extinguished by a neighbour.

Elderly Toronto residents Yue and Shui Chan live on Wolcott in Scarborough. When their kitchen stove was set ablaze, dark smoke plumed throughout the house and the scent permeated the air.

“Fire! Fire!” Yue Chan shouted from the sidewalk outside as smoke detectors rang in the background.

Andy Hetherington, a neighbour and owner of H2O Fire Services, a fire safety business, extinguished the fire before the firefighters arrived.

“I thought Mr. Chan was inside and perhaps overcome with the smoke” Hetherington said. “I thought I would have to drag him out.”

Yue Chan’s limited English skills led to a misunderstanding of her husband being stuck in the house. Instead, Shui Chan was also outside, at the side of the house.

No personal injuries were incurred from the incident, although there was property damage.

“I felt the smoke in my lungs for quite a while afterwards,” Hetherington said. “I used a CO2 fire extinguisher to tamp down the blaze since it doesn’t leave any residue.”

This makes the cleanup much easier. The house does not have a working kitchen now.

“There’s some minor electrical damage,” said David Chan, son of the Chans.

Firefighters arrived promptly from Toronto Fire Station 225, which is located on Danforth Avenue, next to the neighbourhood. The smoke caused firefighters to wear oxygen masks as they entered the home to inspect the damage.