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North Sydney home owner in devastating fire didn't have insurance

A fire which broke out in a duplex at 25 Margaret St., North Sydney on Monday afternoon, also damaged the attached home at 23 Margaret St. and left two families homeless. The fire has been deemed accidental and no one was injured. Sharon Montgomery-Dupe/Cape Breton Post
A fire which broke out in a duplex at 25 Margaret St., North Sydney on Monday afternoon, also damaged the attached home at 23 Margaret St. and left two families homeless. The fire has been deemed accidental and no one was injured. Sharon Montgomery-Dupe/Cape Breton Post
NORTH SYDNEY, N.S. —

Two families have been left homeless following an accidental fire at a duplex Monday afternoon.

The fire broke out at 25 Margaret St., North Sydney, at about 3:17 p.m.

Chief Lloyd MacIntosh of the North Sydney Volunteer Fire Department said the fire was caused by an aluminum pot of oil on the stove.

Brian Billard and his five-year-old daughter, along with a cat, lived at 25 Margaret St. Kevin Kendall, his teenage daughter, two dogs and a cat lived on the attached side of the duplex. No one was injured in the fire.

“We rescued one cat,” MacIntosh said. “He went to the vet and we don’t know his status.”

MacIntosh said when they arrived at the scene there was heavy black smoke coming out of a window.

“There was a broken window and flames were coming out of that,” he said. “We were able to knock the fire down quickly.”

There was substantial damage to the kitchen of the house and smoke damage throughout.

“There was heavy, heavy smoke,” he said. “The amount of smoke damage was amazing.”

The second unit also sustained smoke damage.

MacIntosh said 25 Margaret St., which was not insured, was turned back over to the homeowner Monday.

Tuesday, the exterior of the duplex showed signs of fire damage, smoke on the doors and around some windows. A window on the side of the house was boarded up and Cape Breton Regional Municipality public works was on the scene disconnecting the water.

The owner of the home where the fire originated wasn’t on site late Tuesday morning but the neighbour was on the premises checking his property.

“Everything is gone," said Kendall. "My daughter and I don’t have anything, we don’t even have any clothes. It’s not good.”

On Monday Kendall said he had just gotten out of the shower and was getting ready to go see his girlfriend, when all of a sudden he could smell smoke.

“My daughter ran outside and could see flames coming out of a window in our neighbour’s house.”

Kendall said his backyard is fenced so he opened his back door and let his two husky dogs out.

“I got my daughter and cat out of the house and then the fire department came.”

Kendall is worried because there’s too much smoke damage to live in his house and he wouldn’t be able to anyway because of the severe damage to the Billard home.

Kendall's home was insured but knowing the insurance claim will take some time, he doesn't know what he and his daughter will do next.

However, his thoughts and compassion were with his neighbours. Kendall said they are friends, Billard is a nice guy who also owns his half of the duplex and has lived there for many years.

“I feel bad for Brian, he didn’t have insurance.”

In a news release, the Canadian Red Cross said they’ve assisted a man and his five-year-old daughter from one side of the duplex with emergency lodging and food as well as some other basics and a comfort toy for the child. Red Cross said residents of the other side of the duplex were being assisted by insurance.

RELATED: North Sydney fire leaves five people displaced Monday

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