Kingston experiences the city’s “worst fire seen” – according to the fire fighters.

The fire began at about 2:20 p.m. [Dec 17-13] at a student housing complex under construction near the 600 block of Princess Street. The building, which was vacant, was engulfed in flames. The fire had also spread to the roof of a Royal Canadian Legion villa.

A military chopper was sent to the scene to rescue a worker trapped on a construction crane. The worker became trapped on the crane when a huge blaze broke out below him at a downtown building under construction. As the fire raged, he made his way to the far edge of the crane, where the chopper eventually picked him up.

Plymouth Brethren - Rapid Relief Team

Chopper comes to rescue worker on end of crane

The fire spread quickly because the building was made of wood. Tuesday evening the fire had spread to buildings nearby. An evacuation zone was established and utilities are shut off to homes and businesses in the area until it’s safe for residents to return.

The conditions were horrible for the men fighting the fire, – 25 degrees and snowing outside. Over 100 fire fighting men called to the scene. Fire fighters from out of town, Nappanee, Brockville and Belleville came to support the unmanned stations in Kingston and fight the fire.

Plymouth Brethren - Rapid Relief Team Kingston

Firemen coming in for soup and hot coffee – first shift provided from RRT

The RRT quickly responded with ample food to feed our fire fighters. Kind donations from Tim Horton’s, McDonalds and Loblaws at any time of the day or night. The RRT worked 24 hours straight, to feed our fire fighters, beginning at 8pm Tuesday evening and ending 7pm Wednesday.

Plymouth Brethren - Rapid Relief Team Kingston

RRT supporting our firemen

A fire fighter exclaimed “We’ve never been treated this well” and Deputy Fire Chief says “You’re all very kind people, never seen anything like this”. Another fire fighter came into the tent saying “the guys back there just love you” [referring to the men fighting the fire]. The Kingston mayor, Mark Gerretsen recognized our efforts and expressed his gratitude for all we were doing.

Plymouth Brethren - Rapid Relief Team

Two exhausted firefighters, notice the ice on their pants.

Firefighters worked well overtime in the cold conditions. Their clothing was covered in ice. Struggling to hold onto fire hoses that were layered with icicles, and walking in knee deep water and ice, these brave people worked so hard to control the fire. 9 fire fighters were sent to hospital with frost bite. 2 fire fighters were sent to hospital with broken ankles.

Plymouth Brethren - Rapid Relief Team Kingston

Gas station across the road from the fire, hosed down to prevent an explosion


 2 buildings and 8 houses burned

 10 houses with smoke damage

 Many cars ruined

 5 shifts from RRT (4 meals provided)

 20 RRT members

 Over 100 firefighters

By late Wednesday afternoon, the fire chief said the fire was winding down and would be taking down the warming tent that evening. Thankfully the weather conditions have improved, being -5 and wet flurries on Thursday, 44 hours after the fire had started. The fire is no longer a major threat and the crews have reduced. Thank you to our fire fighting men, a job well done, with no casualties.

Plymouth Brethren - Rapid Relief Team

18 hours later, day light returns

 Plymouth Brethren - Rapid Relief TEam

 Certificate of Appreciation

25 thoughts on “Kingston experiences the city’s “worst fire seen” – according to the fire fighters.”

  1. abc123 says:

    Well done

    keep it up

    awsome work

    well done rrt

    i couldn’t work when it’s that cold


    gr8 work

  2. JIM says:

    What an awesome job the RRT and the fire fighters must have done to be fighting that fire at such extreme conditions! Keep up the excellent effort!

  3. LEK says:

    Well done to RRT Kingston!! It doesnt sound Real Fun doing it in those weather conditions! I think i recognise the nose of the RRT member that is serving in the photo……it could be a boa-constrictor!
    Keep it up! 🙂

    1. Laurence says:

      Thats super, please keep it up

  4. Guy says:

    The conditions and that penetrating cold have to be experienced to be believed. For all involved this was an exceptional work carried out under exceptional conditions.

  5. Simon says:

    Is there a Plymouth Brethren church in Kingston? If so, what bible do they read from?

    1. Kingston says:

      Yes, there is a PB Church in Kingston Ontario. We read the New Translation by J. N. Darby.

    2. nct says:

      I am not from Kingston but yes, there is a Plymouth Brethren Church in Kingston, Canada.
      All the Plymouth Brethren (and others as far as I know) use the J N Darby Bible. In the past the Plymouth Brethren used the King James Version and many would still have a copy today.

      Here is a link to a pdf of the Bible
      Hope this helps.

    3. Owen says:

      Yes, we have a Plymouth Brethren church in Kingston. We use the John Nelson Darby Translation for our services. We also use the King James version for a reference.

    4. TALK says:

      Yes, Simon there is definitely a PBCC in Kingston Canada, they read from JND’s New Translation as do all PBCC – which can be downloaded free of charge from this website!

    5. Holly says:

      Why do you ask? They would presumably do what all the rest of their religion do wouldn’t they. It seems to me looking at this website that they are the same all world over….

    6. Simon says:

      Great! Thanks for the feedback. The Darby version of the bible is an excellent version of the most read book in the world. And thanks too for the free bible download. Keep spreading the word.

  6. Nic says:

    What a fantastic effort!! A very professional incident response from the RRT.

  7. Heather says:

    Great job everyone!! I went down to the site about a week after and it looks like a ghost town and EVERYWHERE around the site is covered in inches of ice. Looked really difficult conditions to work in so I’m glad there were people there that made it easy and comfortable for the firefighters to warm up in, instead of just a warming tent! Thanks for doing a great job!

  8. bert says:


  9. peter pan says:

    wall done!!!!!

  10. Lou says:

    Good Job!
    Nice work – you’ve got it!

  11. Eyewitness says:

    Although it was so cold it was warming to witness the sacrifice of others in making this all happen: including one firefighter in his late 70s who had been up answering alarms at 3:30am (and was still there past midnight), RRT members serving and making food through the night, and local shops who donated food & drink. Thank you on behalf of all Kingstonians!

  12. Granny says:

    This is just so awesome – what conditions! But the weather never puts off the emergency crews, nor the RRT! Very thankful the guy on the crane got down OK , thanks to the amazing helicopter crew, and that there were no other casualties. Best wishes to all from this side of the pond.

    1. Limey says: had a clip of the man being rescued – amazing! – it doesn’t say where it was so didn’t know it was Kingston until I saw this blog!

  13. Brr.. says:

    Wow – what an experience, it makes me cold even looking at the pictures and reading the story. Well done to all, RRT and emergency services for working in such extreme conditions. Also to admin for getting it on so quickly.

  14. PBCC Member says:

    Good work brothers and sisters! Consider the fact that it was below zero (at points where it was so extreme) and the firefighters and the brethren faced the extremes to fix a life threatening situation! Awesome courage and commitment!!! Who would have thought such an event would occur during such extreme weather circumstances! (Fire & Ice!!!)

    1. Auntique says:

      Good thing it wasn’t this week – the temps have been record breaking before windchill values are added not to mention the ice and snow that came along! Well done and a big hurrah to all of you who sacrificed time and comfort to help out. Excellent work from the RRT and the emergency services.

  15. Arby says:

    Fantastic work Firefighters and RRT!!
    -25C, That’s cold!

    1. Royston says:

      Well done, every bit of effort to help the emergency services has got to be for the benefit of all around! Keep it up!

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