Crews were back on West Avenue in Kitchener on Wednesday, sifting through the remains of a house that had been destroyed by fire one day earlier.

The house is considered abandoned. Neighbours say they occasionally see people coming and going – although they believe those people are “vagrants,” and not there lawfully.

“I have seen some people kind of poking around, looking in the windows,” neighbour Stacy-Rae Dosman said Wednesday.

Another neighbour, Travis Clarke, says he’s used to seeing “people that shouldn’t be around” in the neighbourhood, and has been wondering what was going on inside the vacant house for some time.

“This is a very close neighbourhood,” he said.

“Everybody knows each other.”

West Avenue fire

The fire also caused damage to the two homes next to the house that was destroyed.

Residents of those homes were barred from getting back inside Wednesday.

They are staying with friends and relatives. A 95-year-old woman who lived in that house – and was woken up and carried to safety by her son – is staying with family in Windsor.

Dosman says she feels particularly bad for her, given what she saw as she watched the firefighting efforts unfold on Tuesday.

“She just kept pointing at her house saying she just wanted to go home,” she said.

Fire officials say their investigation into the cause of the fire is in its early stages.

With reporting by Brandon Rowe