Twelve tenants of a building on Charlotte Street have been displaced.
Saint John Fire Platoon Chief Josh Hennessey says at around 2 am Saturday morning, crews responded to reports of an explosion in the area of 269 Charlotte Street.
When they arrived, they found the brick had fallen off the first two stories of the three-storey building, onto the sidewalk in front of the building.
Firefighters conducted a search and everyone was evacuated safely.
An area from Queen Street to Queen’s Square South and Harding Street has been barricaded off to all traffic. Pedestrians are also not permitted in an area around the building,
Security is on the scene until an assessment and further investigation can be done.
The building has been deemed structurally unsafe and some demolition work is expected to be done on Sunday.
The Canadian Red Cross is assisting a woman and two children and a couple with three children including a four-month-old from two units in the building. They’re supplying emergency purchases like clothing, food and other essentials.
Due to a shortage of hotel rooms in Saint John over the long weekend, the two families travelled to Moncton to stay with relatives or friends.
There’s no word yet whether or not the tenants will be permitted back in at some point to retrieve personal belongings.
According to Dan Bedell from the Canadian Red Cross, the building itself is known as the William Vassie Residence and is designated a local historic place for its architecture, arched windows and decorative stonework. It was built in 1879 as a part of the reconstruction following the Great Saint John fire that destroyed two-thirds of the city in 1877.
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