Man sent to hospital, charged in connection with apartment fire

MOUNT FOREST – A man sent to hospital with second-degree burns on his hands and arms has been charged in connection with a fire in his apartment at 235 Egremont Street on Dec. 6.

Wellington North Fire Chief Dave Guilbault said the cause of the fire is under criminal investigation based on evidence at the scene.

Patrick David McDermott, 32, of Mount Forest, was charged with arson by negligence and is to appear in Guelph court on Jan. 18.

The call to the Wellington North fire department came in at 5:44am on Dec. 6.

When firefighters reached the building, “There was heavy smoke and fire in the apartment on the lower level” of the two-storey building, Guilbault said.

Thirty-seven firefighters in total helped at the scene.

Teams from the Mount Forest, Arthur and Harriston stations were assisted by the West Grey fire department.

The building’s 10 tenants were all evacuated and the estimated damage is $100,000.

According to Guilbault, there was smoke damage throughout the building, but it was mostly contained to the apartment where the fire started.

When Guilbault spoke to the Advertiser, the OPP was on site, awaiting the fire marshal.

The tenants were assisted by Guelph Wellington Housing Services, Victorian Order of Nurses and the Red Cross.

“The apartment of origin will be uninhabitable for some time – the rest of the tenants should be in by late today,” said Guilbault on Dec. 6.