Fire destroyed a three-apartment building on James Street in downtown Hawkesbury on Wednesday, July 14, and the police also had to take one of the tenants into custody.

According to Hawkesbury Acting Fire Chief Daniel Gascon, the call was received at 8:27 Wednesday morning. Firefighters from Champlain Township and the village of Grenville were also called to assist.

Four people lived in the building and there was an altercation between two tenants when they exited the building. The Ontario Provincial Police were called and one of the individuals was taken to the police station.

Another tenant was seen retrieving items from the building’s back entrance while firefighters worked from the front and roof.

There were no injuries due to the fire, but one firefighter was treated by paramedics for heat exhaustion.

Firefighters remained at the scene for the rest of the day on Wednesday after the fire was out. The remains of the building were being torn down and an excavator was on site. Gascon estimated the cost of the damage at $400,000.

Gascon said the cause of the fire is impossible to determine because firefighters were unable to get inside the building when they arrived. He said the fire appeared to have started at the back of the building and one of the tenants said smoke was coming out of a wall at the beginning.

According to Gascon, the two-storey building had what is called a “balloon construction” where there is no structural barrier between levels.

Flames shooting out the window while firefighters aim the hose at the building destroyed by fire on James Street in downtown Hawkesbury on July 14. Photo: James Morgan