Small fire at Royal Apartments


By Kristen Shane


A small fire on Harbour Street last Wednesday afternoon caused a big disturbance.


Kincardine fire fighters respond to a fire at the Royal Apartments on Harbour Street last Wednesday. (Kristen Shane photo)


Two fire trucks, at least one ambulance and two police cars surrounded the Royal Apartments, next to the Erie Belle restaurant on Harbour Street’s north side. Police temporarily blocked the one-way street to vehicles and a small crowd of people gathered at the foot of the apartment block.


One of them was Darlene Whitfield, an evacuated resident dressed in pink fuzzy slippers with no coat. She smelled smoke in the building at about 2:30 p.m.

She went downstairs to Ron Platten’s apartment to see if he could smell it too.


Together, the two residents looked for the source, a second-floor unit.


Across the street, the building’s superintendent, Glenna Angus, was inside her business Scoop & Save, when she got a call from Whitfield.


“She phoned me and said, ‘You better get over here quick,’” Angus recalled.


She rushed over and gave Platten the key to the apartment on fire. The tenant was not inside.


Platten opened the door as Whitfield stood by.


“(I) could barely see anything,” she says. “Just smoke.”


Whitfield called 911.


Platten found a pile of clothes smoldering in the kitchen area. He used a fire extinguisher and water to put the fire out.


“I used water from the sink to flood the floor,” he said. “I let (the sink) overfill.”


Eleven firefighters on two fire trucks responded.


“The fire was out when we got here,” explained fire chief Jamie MacKinnon, standing at the foot of the building at about 3 p.m. “(Firefighters) are just investigating.”


Police assisted, as is typical when a fire is reported in an urban area, he said.


South Bruce OPP spokesperson Constable Kevin Martin said Thursday that his detachment was dispatched to the call at 2:50 p.m.

Other than smoke that filled the source apartment and a pile of burnt clothes, MacKinnon later said there was no damage. No one was hurt.


Whitfield said many of the residents in the 24-unit building work during the day and were not home at the time of the fire.


Although firefighters have their suspicions, MacKinnon said they could not officially determine the fire’s cause.


Martin said his detachment has laid no charges and is not currently investigating the incident.


The Royal Apartments has metal numbers on its front indicating that it may have been built in 1873. It is currently owned by a British Columbia company, said Angus.