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Island fire departments battle six-hour house fire in O'Leary during snowstorm

["Phillips takes over as chief of O'Leary Fire Department."]
O'Leary Fire Department.

O'Leary, West Point and Alberton firefighters were at the site of a six-hour structure fire on Main Street that started in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The O'Leary Fire Department responded to a call at around 6 a.m., initially defeating the main blaze, but fighting the more hidden fires within the home with aid from West Point and Alberton Fire Departments. Firefighters didn't leave the scene until, roughly, 12 p.m.

"It was an old house, and usually with houses that old, there are a lot of renovations leading to many of these voids and crevices where fires can hide," said fire chief Ron Phillips.

This was the challenge for firefighters as they endeavoured to control or put out small fires located through the building as well as put ventilation holes in the roof of the one-and-a-half story lean-to.

He said a woman and her dog, who were living in the house, managed to escape the fire and are fine.

Although structurally the home is still standing, Phillips said that the house itself is gutted.

The Office of the Fire Marshall was conducting their investigation into the fire, said Phillips, and he could not comment on the cause of the fire.

Phillips took the time to remind Islanders of fire safety, especially during the winter.

"This time of year, when it is dry, (residents) should not leave things like candles or space heaters unattended and ensure they have the proper equipment to supply electricity to their space heaters like heavy grade extension cords," he said.

Phillips said that it was important for residents to check their fire alarms to ensure they are working and have fully charged batteries as well as to change them at least once a year.

He thanked the West Point and Alberton Fire Departments for their assistance in the fire.

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