OFM says determining cause of Bradford apartment building fire will be “painstaking”

Residents of less-affected units could begin to return in two weeks

A structural engineer has inspected the eight-storey apartment complex on Holland Street West in Bradford where a fire erupted on Monday and has put together a detailed plan for shoring up the structure between the fifth and sixth floors.

It’s anticipated the investigation by the Ontario Fire Marshal (OFM) will begin Thursday and take a few days to complete.

“We have assembled a very experienced team that over the next few days are going to do a painstaking examination of the unit where the fire began and look at the circumstances surrounding the fire,” said Larry Brassard, Operations Manager with the OFM. “This was a very serious fire resulting in some serious injuries so we are going to do everything we can to make sure this investigation is thorough and complete.”

Following that work, the building will be turned back over to the property owner, and then their insurance company will do their own inspection and begin restoration of the property.

“It’s impossible to accurately say how long this process is going to take, but I would estimate that it will be approximately two weeks before residents of the less-affected units will be able to work with the building owner’s insurance company to briefly re-visit their apartments,” said Bradford West Gwillimbury Fire Chief Jim Kay. “I expect the insurance company will make appointments with those individuals to re-enter the property to access their belongings and to start making plans to move back in.”

“Obviously some areas of the building were more severely damaged by fire, smoke and/or water and will take longer to be restored, and to be safe to enter and eventually move back in.”

Firefighters rescued 11 people from balconies during the blaze. Kay was not able to provide an update on the conditions of those individuals who remain in hospital. As of Monday, three were listed in serious condition and one was critical.

“I will tell you that the structural damage inside the building is probably on the more pronounced scale of anything that I’ve seen before,” said Brassard. “So, there’s a very serious situation.”

The Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury, County of Simcoe and Red Cross are working together to provide support to the tenants, including helping to provide accommodations for whatever period of time they are out of their homes. With assistance from local community organizations, plans are also in the works to assist tenants once they are able to return to their homes and evaluate their longer-term needs.

Any residents of the building with questions or needing support of any kind can get information through the Town of BWG at 905-775-5366 ext. 0