CORNWALL, Ontario - A fire in east-end Cornwall engulfed a duplex and witnesses at the scene claim a vehicle in a driveway exploded, leading to the carnage.
Thick black smoke covered the Walton and Louisa streets area of the city. Local media reports suggest a man was working on a van when the fuel tank was punctured and a fire began.
The flames quickly engulfed the vehicle and spread to another car before attacking homes.
Stephanie Coleman and her partner Haley Johnston were in the Second and Marlborough streets area when they saw the smoke.
"I doubt the house(s) stood a chance. It's very unfortunate," said Coleman. "Haley and I couldn't believe how quickly the smoke was rising. It almost looked like a tanker or gas exploded.
"The smoke was really black."
Firefighters and police quickly descended on the scene. By 6:30 p.m. the fire was under control but the damage to the homes and vehicles appears significant.
The charred remains of the vehicles, not to mention the burning home, were a grim reminder to many how quickly fire can spread.
"The smoke sort of hung in the air and saturated the east towards St. Felix," said Coleman.
Police were not able to confirm details concerning injuries. More to come.