There will be no quick return home for about 100 residents of an apartment building in Bradford where a fire began in a fifth-floor unit on Monday afternoon.
“The initial report of the structural engineer is that a section of the building is not safe and that no one is to enter at this time,” said Fire Investigator James Allen. “The engineer will provide us with more information on the status of the various areas of the building and will come up with a plan for what repairs and mitigation are required to make it inhabitable.
“We will be providing residents with more information by the end of the day tomorrow, but at this point, I don’t foresee anyone being able to inhabit the building for about two weeks,” said Allen. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who were injured, as well as everyone who has lost their home for any length of time. We will continue to do all we can to help you and to get you back home as soon as possible.”
When firefighters arrived at the building on Monday, they were met by heavy smoke and flames. They used an aerial apparatus to remove 11 people from balconies.
Four occupants of the building at 114 Holland St. West remain in hospital, with three in serious and one in critical condition.
Once the 84-unit building is safe, the Ontario Fire Marshal will be able to begin an investigation into the fire, including the cause and any contributing factors. A full report will take several weeks.
The Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury has established a dedicated phone line for displaced residents. Please call 905-775-5366 Ext. 0 for assistance and to be connected with support including the Red Cross and County social services.
Local community service agency Wow Living, which operates resources including the Out of the Cold Café, is coordinating requests for clothing, donations of clothing and financial donations to displaced residents. Anyone needing assistance or wanting to offer help should call 905-778-2048 (no answering machine) during the day or 416-697-5634 after hours. Financial donations can be made at wow-living.ca. To donate other items please contact Jodi Greenstreet at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Bradford residents and businesses have always pulled together in a time of crisis, and the outpouring of offers of assistance during this tragic fire are truly heartwarming,” said Mayor Rob Keffer. “Many local restaurants provided hot meals for our evacuation centre and then provided food for the first responders at the scene. We continue to field calls, emails and social media messaging offering further support, which really demonstrates the generous and giving nature of our tight-knit community.
“We encourage you to contact Wow Living with any offers of support to ensure everything is well coordinated and all those in need receive equal access to that help,” Mayor Keffer adds.