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Family escapes from burning Cambridge home, two cats killed in fire

A Cambridge family is safe after flames broke out in their Brook Street home on Friday.

Crews were called to the property, between Dundas Street North and Bond Street, shortly after 12:30 p.m.

Dan Tilston, who lives next door to the home, was at work at the time.

“My wife called me, frantic, saying that the [neighbour’s] house was on fire,” he said. “I was driving down Industrial Road and I could see the smoke.”

Tilston called the scene “unbelievable.”

“When I got here I saw that [firefighters] had the back porch pretty much all tore up,” he said. “The roof’s got holes in it because they were trying to get the water right into the house, the back room. Windows started to get broken as they were trying to get some of the smoke and fire out of the top half of the house.”


“I smelled smoke and I thought: ‘Wow, that’s a nasty barbecue going on,’” said Rick Heidenreich, who lives a few doors down. “Then I went out on my back porch and looked up and I saw the smoke coming off the building.”

He described the thick black smoke as “intense” and filling the entire block.

“It was kind of hard to breathe for anybody that wasn’t even close to the fire,” he said.

Heidenreich was also shocked when he saw the growing flames.

“The flames were doubling like every 10 seconds,” he explained. “It was a huge fire.”

Crews at the scene of a house fire on Brook Street, Cambridge on June 2, 2023. (Terry Kelly/CTV Kitchener)


The Cambridge Fire Department said two adults and a child were in the home at the time of the fire.

All three escaped unharmed, however two cats died in the fire.

“With the hot temperatures today and a bit of a wind breeze our firefighters had to attack this fire with all hose lines from all directions,” said Captain John Percy, the fire prevention officer with the Cambridge Fire Department. “The second-floor windows and roof level at the back of the home have been severely burned.”

Crews managed to put out the flames before they spread to neighbouring homes.

Heidenreich praised the work of firefighters.

“It was amazing to watch them work the way they did,” he said. “They had the hoses out, the water on it, in less than a minute. It was well, well organized.”

It’s not yet known what sparked the fire but investigators believe it began on or near the rear deck of the home.

Damage is estimated at approximately $400,000


Cambridge Fire said the family was able to escape safely because of their smoke alarms.

“It is the law in the province of Ontario to have working smoke alarms on every single level of their home and outside their sleeping areas,” said Percy. “Make sure all of your smoke alarms work. Test them, make sure they haven’t expired. It is for the safety of you and your loved ones in your home.”

Neighbour Dan Tilston agrees.

“You can replace possessions, you can’t replace family members,” he said. Top Stories

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