‘It’s a little unnerving:’ Resident reacts to nearby fires in downtown Windsor

John Powell says he was awoken around 2 a.m. ET Monday to sirens and commotion across the street.A home at 849 Victoria Ave. was fully engulfed. The home suffered extensive damage, according to Windsor fire officials, with the second floor eventually collapsing.Powell has lived in the neighbourhood for more than five years and says the home’s been empty ever since he moved there — and “probably longer.”The second floor of 849 Victoria Avenue in Windsor, Ont., collapsed after the structure caught fire early Monday. (Michael Evans/CBC)This is the second fire in the immediate area in less than a week — with the “rainbow house” nearby.”It’s a little unnerving,” he said.”This is a very close knit community. The people that live next door got out OK.”Powell says he and other neighbours have contacted 311 to complain about the house being empty for so long — calling it an “eyesore” that needs to be fixed.”There have been times where there have been people underneath the porch that need to get kicked out. I mean we live downtown and unfortunately people need a place to stay and I think they look for places like this.”Fire prevention officer Mike Coste says no one was injured and the building sustained $700,000 in damage and was “under renovations” at the time.A Windsor police cruiser sits out front of 849 Victoria Ave., which caught fire early Monday morning. (Michael Evans/CBC)The cause of the blaze is listed as “undetermined,” due to the “significant damage,” and will not be treated as suspicious at this time.”We all look at these houses in the 1920s, early 1900s, they’re all wood. That’s one of the biggest fears you have in a house [is] that it catches on fire,” said Powell.Coste says the city’s building department will now assess whether demolition is required or if it can be salvaged. The property is listed on Windsor’s public property inquiry heritage registry but not designated.

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